NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Do Low-Income Housing Subsidies Increase Housing Consumption?

Todd Sinai, Joel Waldfogel

NBER Working Paper No. 8709
Issued in January 2002
NBER Program(s):   PE

A necessary condition for justifying a policy such as publicly provided or subsidized low-income housing is that it has a real effect on recipients' outcomes. In this paper, we examine one aspect of the real effect of public or subsidized housing -- does it increase the housing stock? If subsidized housing raises the quantity of occupied housing per capita, either more people are finding housing or they are being housed less densely. On the other hand, if public or subsidized housing merely crowds out equivalent-quality low-income housing that otherwise would have been provided by the private sector, the housing policy may have little real effect on housing consumption. Using Census place-level data from the decennial census and from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, we ask whether places with more public and subsidized housing also have more total housing, after accounting for housing demand. We find that government-financed units raise the total number of units in a Census place, although on average three government-subsidized units displace two units that would otherwise have been provided by the private market. There is less crowd out in more populous markets, and more crowd out in places where there is less excess demand for public housing, as measured by the number of government-financed units per eligible person. Tenant-based housing programs, such as Section 8 Certificates and Vouchers, seem to be more effective than project-based programs at targeting subsidized housing units to people who otherwise would not have their own.

download in pdf format
   (126 K)

email paper

This paper is available as PDF (126 K) or via email.

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w8709

Published: Sinai, Todd and Joel Waldfogel. "Do Low-Income Housing Subsidies Increase The Occupied Housing Stock?," Journal of Public Economics, 2005, v89(11-12,Dec), 2137-2164.

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Rosen w1161 Housing Subsidies: Effects on Housing Decisions, Efficiency, and Equity
Olsen w8208 Housing Programs for Low-Income Households
Desai, Dharmapala, and Singhal w14149 Tax Incentives for Affordable Housing: The Low Income Housing Tax Credit
Olsen Housing Programs for Low-Income Households
Desai, Dharmapala, and Singhal Tax Incentives for Affordable Housing: The Low Income Housing Tax Credit
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

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

Contact Us