Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects

Jeffrey R. Kling, Jeffrey B. Liebman, Lawrence F. Katz

NBER Working Paper No. 11577
Issued in August 2005
NBER Program(s):The Program on Children, The Labor Studies Program, The Public Economics Program

Families, primarily female-headed minority households with children, living in high-poverty public housing projects in five U.S. cities were offered housing vouchers by lottery in the Moving to Opportunity program. Four to seven years after random assignment, families offered vouchers lived in safer neighborhoods that had lower poverty rates than those of the control group not offered vouchers. We find no significant overall effects of this intervention on adult economic self-sufficiency or physical health. Mental health benefits of the voucher offers for adults and for female youth were substantial. Beneficial effects for female youth on education, risky behavior, and physical health were offset by adverse effects for male youth. For outcomes exhibiting significant treatment effects, we find, using variation in treatment intensity across voucher types and cities, that the relationship between neighborhood poverty rate and outcomes is approximately linear.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w11577

Published: Revised and published in Econometrica, 75:1 (January 2007), 83-119 citation courtesy of

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