Panel: Understanding the Locational Decisions and Outcomes of Assisted Housing Recipients
(Housing and Community Development)

Thursday, November 2, 2017: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Wright (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Gerard Torrats-Espinosa, New York University
Panel Chairs:  Paul Jargowsky, Rutgers University, Camden
Discussants:  Brian McCabe, Georgetown University and Heather Schwartz, RAND Corporation

Neighbors and Networks: The Role of Social Interactions on the Residential Choices of Housing Choice Voucher Holders
Ingrid Gould Ellen, Michael B. Suher and Gerard Torrats-Espinosa, New York University

Neighborhood Choices, Neighborhood Effects and Housing Vouchers
Morris A. Davis1, Jesse Gregory2, Daniel A. Hartley3 and Kegon Teng Kok Tan2, (1)Rutgers University, (2)University of Wisconsin - Madison, (3)Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

New Neighborhoods, New Schools: The Impact of Housing Mobility on Academic Achievement
Stefanie DeLuca, Anna Rhodes and Philip M.E. Garboden, Johns Hopkins University

The Housing Choice Voucher Program and Proximity to Jobs
Michael Lens, University of California, Los Angeles, Kirk McClure, University of Kansas and Brent Mast, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

This panel includes four papers that examine how low-income households participating in assisted housing programs make locational decisions and how these decisions in turn shape outcomes. The first paper examines the role of social interactions and informal networks in the location decisions of households in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Using administrative household-level data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the authors investigate whether voucher holders tend to move to the same neighborhoods as other voucher holders who live in the same building or block, after controlling for the initial neighborhood and household attributes. They find robust evidence that pairs of voucher holders who live in the same building or in very close proximity to one another are more likely to move to the same neighborhood than other pairs of voucher holders who also live in the same neighborhood but further away from one another. They also find that voucher holders who live close to other voucher holders who move are more likely to move to higher poverty neighborhoods than other voucher holders from their same neighborhoods.

The second paper investigates how households optimally choose a neighborhood in which to live, how neighborhoods affect the ability of children, and how housing vouchers affect neighborhood choices and child ability. Using panel data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel / Equifax (CCP) on renters residing in Los Angeles County, the authors find that neighborhood choices are sensitive to rental prices for the poorest households in our sample, and that this sensitivity is key to predicting the impact of housing-voucher policies on choices and outcomes. The authors also discuss the costs and benefits of a targeted housing voucher that can only be applied in a small set of neighborhoods that they estimate to substantially improve child ability.

The third paper examines academic outcomes among children in households participating in the Baltimore Housing Mobility Program (BHMP). The authors combine longitudinal data from the BHMP and administrative data from the Maryland State Department of Education on all school-aged children in participating households. They find that students participating in the program experienced substantial improvements in school quality that persisted over time. After receiving their voucher and moving to new neighborhoods, nearly three-quarters of the BHMP students were enrolled in suburban county school districts. Similarly, after moving, the students attended schools with less poverty, less racial segregation, and higher academic achievement.

The last paper focuses on job accessibility among participants in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Using administrative household-level data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the authors ask whether households move to more job accessible areas after they receive housing vouchers. Their preliminary findings suggest that employed HCV households are only slightly more likely to live in closer proximity to job opportunities, but they live in areas with fewer unemployed households.

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