NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Life Shocks and Homelessness

Marah A. Curtis, Hope Corman, Kelly Noonan, Nancy Reichman

NBER Working Paper No. 16826
Issued in February 2011
NBER Program(s):   HE

We exploit an exogenous health shock—the birth of a child with a severe health condition—to investigate the causal effect of a life shock on homelessness. Using survey data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study that have been augmented with information from hospital medical records, we find that the health shock increases the likelihood of homelessness three years later, particularly in cities with high housing costs. Homelessness is defined using both a traditional measure and a more contemporary measure that includes residential instability and doubling up without paying rent. The findings are consistent with the economic theory of homelessness, which posits that homelessness results from a conjunction of adverse circumstances in which housing markets and individual characteristics collide. They also add to a growing body of evidence that housing markets are an important contributor to homelessness and suggest that homelessness is a problem not easily addressed by existing public support programs.

download in pdf format
   (159 K)

email paper

The NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health provides summaries of publications like this.  You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

This paper is available as PDF (159 K) or via email.

This paper was revised on February 23, 2012

Acknowledgments

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16826

“Life Shocks and Homelessness,” (with Marah Curtis, Kelly Noonan and Nancy Reichman), Demography (forthcoming).

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Freeman and Hall w2013 Permanent Homelessness in America?
Reinhart and Rogoff w16827 A Decade of Debt
Glied, Hoven, moore, and Garrett w5834 Medicaid and Service Use Among Homeless Adults
Currie and Tekin w17310 Is there a Link Between Foreclosure and Health?
Treisman w16838 The Geography of Fear
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us