NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Low-Income Housing Policy

Robert Collinson, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Jens Ludwig

NBER Working Paper No. 21071
Issued in April 2015
NBER Program(s):Children, Labor Studies, Public Economics

The United States government devotes about $40 billion each year to means-tested housing programs, plus another $6 billion or so in tax expenditures on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). What exactly do we spend this money on, why, and what does it accomplish? We focus on these questions. We begin by reviewing the history of low-income housing programs in the U.S., and then summarize the characteristics of participants in means-tested housing programs and how programs have changed over time. We consider important conceptual issues surrounding the design of and rationale for means-tested housing programs in the U.S. and review existing empirical evidence, which is limited in important ways. Finally, we conclude with thoughts about the most pressing questions that might be addressed in future research in this area.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w21071

Published: Low-Income Housing Policy, Robert Collinson, Ingrid Gould Ellen, Jens Ludwig. in Economics of Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States, volume 2, Moffitt. 2016

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