Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard Un
50 Church Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Institutional Affiliation: NBER
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|February 2013||Long-Term Neighborhood Effects on Low-Income Families: Evidence from Moving to Opportunity|
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We examine long-term neighborhood effects on low-income families using data from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) randomized housing-mobility experiment, which offered some public-housing families but not others the chance to move to less-disadvantaged neighborhoods. We show that 10-15 years after baseline MTO improves adult physical and mental health; has no detectable effect on economic outcomes, youth schooling and youth physical health; and mixed results by gender on other youth outcomes, with girls doing better on some measures and boys doing worse. Despite the somewhat mixed pattern of impacts on traditional behavioral outcomes, MTO moves substantially improve adult subjective well-being.
Published: Jens Ludwig & Greg J. Duncan & Lisa A. Gennetian & Lawrence F. Katz & Ronald C. Kessler & Jeffrey R. Kling & Lisa Sanbonmatsu, 2013. "Long-Term Neighborhood Effects on Low-Income Families: Evidence from Moving to Opportunity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 226-31, May. citation courtesy of
|June 2010||Unpacking Neighborhood Influences on Education Outcomes: Setting the Stage for Future Research|
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We motivate future neighborhood research through a simple model that considers youth educational outcomes as a function of neighborhood context, neighborhood exposure, individual vulnerability to neighborhood effects, and non-neighborhood educational inputs -- with a focus on effect heterogeneity. Research using this approach would require three steps. First, researchers would need to shift focus away from broad theories of neighborhood effects and examine the specific mechanisms through which the characteristics of a neighborhood might affect an individual. Second, neighborhood research would need new and far more nuanced data. Third, more research designs would be needed that can unpack the causal effects, if any, of specific neighborhood characteristics as they operate through well-spe...
Published: Whither Opportunity? Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children's Life Chances. Edited by Greg J. Duncan and Richard Murnane. New York: Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2011. 277-296.
|September 2009||The Role of Simplification and Information in College Decisions: Results from the H&R Block FAFSA Experiment|
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Growing concerns about low awareness and take-up rates for government support programs like college financial aid have spurred calls to simplify the application process and enhance visibility. This project examines the effects of two experimental treatments designed to test of the importance of simplification and information using a random assignment research design. H&R Block tax professionals helped low- to moderate-income families complete the FAFSA, the federal application for financial aid. Families were then given an estimate of their eligibility for government aid as well as information about local postsecondary options. A second randomly-chosen group of individuals received only personalized aid eligibility information but did not receive help completing the FAFSA. Comparing the ou...
Published: Role of Information and Simplification in Access The FAFSA Experiment Bettinger, Eric, B. T. Long, Philip Oreopoulos, and Lisa Sanbonmatsu. (2012) “The Role of Application Assistance and Information in College Decisions: Results from the H&R Block FAFSA Experiment.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 127(3).
|January 2006||Neighborhoods and Academic Achievement: Results from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment|
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Families originally living in public housing were assigned housing vouchers by lottery, encouraging moves to neighborhoods with lower poverty rates. Although we had hypothesized that reading and math test scores would be higher among children in families offered vouchers (with larger effects among younger children), the results show no significant effects on test scores for any age group among over 5000 children ages 6 to 20 in 2002 who were assessed four to seven years after randomization. Program impacts on school environments were considerably smaller than impacts on neighborhoods, suggesting that achievement-related benefits from improved neighborhood environments are alone small.
Published: Revised and published in the Journal of Human Resources, 41:4 (Fall 2006), 649-691. citation courtesy of