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American Economic Review: Vol. 102 No. 1 (February 2012)

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The Effects of Housing Assistance on Labor Supply: Evidence from a Voucher Lottery

Article Citation

Jacob, Brian A., and Jens Ludwig. 2012. "The Effects of Housing Assistance on Labor Supply: Evidence from a Voucher Lottery." American Economic Review, 102(1): 272-304.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.1.272

Abstract

This study estimates the effects of means-tested housing programs on labor supply using data from a randomized housing voucher wait-list lottery in Chicago. Economic theory is ambiguous about the expected sign of any labor supply response. We find that among working-age, able-bodied adults, housing voucher use reduces labor force participation by around 4 percentage points (6 percent) and quarterly earnings by $329 (10 percent), and increases Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program participation by around 2 percentage points (15 percent). We find no evidence that the housing-specific mechanisms hypothesized to promote work, such as neighborhood quality or residential stability, are important empirically. (JEL I38, J22, R23, R38)

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Authors

Jacob, Brian A. (U MI)
Ludwig, Jens (U Chicago)

JEL Classifications

I38: Welfare and Poverty: Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
J22: Time Allocation and Labor Supply
R23: Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Economics: Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population; Neighborhood Characteristics
R38: Production Analysis and Firm Location: Government Policy; Regulatory Policies


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