Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy
Housing Vouchers and Economic Self-Sufficiency: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment
- Author(s): Ludwig, Jens
- Duncan, Greg J.
- Pinkston, Joshua C.
- et al.
Housing policies for low-income families may affect the concentration of poverty in America, which could in turn affect the ability of families receiving housing services to become economically self-sufficient. In this paper we examine the effects of a randomized housing- voucher experiment on welfare receipt and labor market outcomes, both of which are measured using state administrative data. We find that providing families in high-poverty public housing areas with housing vouchers that can only be redeemed in low-poverty neighborhoods reduces rates of welfare use by around 6 percentage points. Most of this reduction in welfare receipt appears to be explained by differences in welfare-to-work transitions. We also find that providing families with unrestricted housing vouchers has little effect on economic outcomes beyond the first year.