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

Publication Date:
Jan 2012
Published In:
Project Programs:
Future of Work

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)

The Russell Sage Foundation
Journal of the Social Sciences

The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal of original empirical research articles by both established and emerging scholars.

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