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Jel Classification:I38 

Working Paper
Assessing the Evidence on Neighborhood Effects from Moving to Opportunity

The Moving to Opportunity (MTO) experiment randomly assigned housing vouchers that could be used in low-poverty neighborhoods. Consistent with the literature, I find that receiving an MTO voucher had no effect on outcomes like earnings, employment, and test scores. However, after studying the assumptions identifying neighborhood effects with MTO data, this paper reaches a very different interpretation of these results than found in the literature. I first specify a model in which the absence of effects from the MTO program implies an absence of neighborhood effects. I present theory and ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1506

Journal Article
How Does Informal Employment Affect the Design of Unemployment Insurance and Employment Protection?

The authors use a simple model to study the optimal design of unemployment insurance and employment protection. Workers are risk averse and face the possibility of unemployment. Firms are risk neutral and face random shocks to productivity. Workers can participate in a shadow economy, or informal sector. The model yields several lessons. First, countries should encourage formal employment to address the issue of informal employment. In extreme cases, such encouragement translates into high severance payments and negative payroll taxes. Along these same lines, unemployment payments cannot be ...
Review , Volume 97 , Issue 2

Working Paper
Nonlinear Pricing in Village Economies

This paper examines the price of basic staples in rural Mexico. We document that nonlinear pricing in the form of quantity discounts is common, that quantity discounts are sizable for typical staples, and that the well-known conditional cash transfer program Progresa has significantly increased quantity discounts, although the program, as documented in previous studies, has not affected on average unit prices. To account for these patterns, we propose a model of price discrimination that nests those of Maskin and Riley (1984) and Jullien (2000), in which consumers differ in their tastes and, ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 23

Working Paper
The Earned Income Tax Credit and Food Consumption Patterns

The Earned Income Tax Credit is unique among social programs in that benefits are not paid out evenly across the calendar year. We exploit this feature of the EITC to investigate how the credit influences the food expenditure patterns of eligible households. We find that eligible households spend relatively more on healthy items including fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry, and dairy products during the months when most refunds are paid.
Working Paper Series , Paper WP-2013-14

Working Paper
Evidence on the Production of Cognitive Achievement from Moving to Opportunity

This paper performs a subgroup analysis on the effect of receiving a Moving to Opportunity (MTO) housing voucher on test scores. I find evidence of heterogeneity by number of children in the household in Boston, gender in Chicago, and race/ethnicity in Los Angeles. To study the mechanisms driving voucher effect heterogeneity, I develop a generalized Rubin Causal Model and propose an estimator to identify transition-specific Local Average Treatment Effects (LATEs) of school and neighborhood quality. Although I cannot identify such LATEs with the MTO data, the analysis demonstrates that ...
Working Papers (Old Series) , Paper 1707

Working Paper
Designing Unemployment Insurance for Developing Countries

The benefits of implementing Unemployment Insurance Savings Accounts (UISAs) are studied in the presence of the multiple sources of information frictions often existing in developing countries. A benchmark incomplete markets economy is calibrated to Mexico in the early 2000s. The unconstrained optimal allocation would imply very large welfare gains relative to the benchmark economy (similar to an increase in consumption of 23% in every period). More importantly, in presence of multiple sources of information frictions, about half of those potential gains can be accrued through the ...
Working Papers , Paper 2018-6

Discussion Paper
Developing Inclusive Communities: Challenges and Opportunities for Mixed-Income Housing

Over the past decade, housing costs have risen faster than incomes. The need for affordable rental housing has well outpaced the number of available units as well as funding allocations at the federal level. Local regulation and land use policies that increase the cost of subsidized, mixed-income housing construction and preservation have contributed to the affordability problem. {{p}} To meet the affordable housing needs in U.S. communities, innovation, creativity, and "out of the box" thinking may be required, particularly as it relates to reducing the rapidly increasing costs of ...
FRB Atlanta Community and Economic Development Discussion Paper , Paper 2017-1

Working Paper
Rural Affordable Rental Housing : Quantifying Need, Reviewing Recent Federal Support, and Assessing the Use of Low Income Housing Tax Credits in Rural Areas

Recently, there has been significant interest in the high levels of rental cost burden being experienced across the United States. Much of this scholarship has focused on rental cost burdens in larger urban areas, or at the national level, and has not explored differences in the prevalence of rental cost burden in urban versus rural communities. In this paper, I find that rental cost burdens are a challenge facing both urban and rural communities. However, despite the need for affordable rental housing in rural communities identified, I find the amount of resources made available by the ...
Finance and Economics Discussion Series , Paper 2018-077

Working Paper
The Effect of Housing First Programs on Future Homelessness and Socioeconomic Outcomes

Housing First programs provide housing assistance without preconditions for homeless individuals as a platform for rehabilitation. Despite the programs’ increasing popularity, limited evidence exists on their effects on socioeconomic outcomes. Using a novel dataset combining administrative records from multiple public agencies in Los Angeles County and a random case manager assignment design, I estimate that Housing First assistance reduces homelessness and crime, increases income and employment, and does not have a detectable effect on healthcare utilization. Cost-benefit analysis implies ...
Research Working Paper , Paper RWP 2022-03

Journal Article
Structural and Cyclical Trends in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has increased sharply over the past 20 years. Average monthly participation grew from 17.3 million people in 2001 to a peak of 47.6 million people in 2013. Although participation declined somewhat as the economy recovered from the Great Recession, SNAP participation remains well above its pre-recession level. {{p}} Kelly D. Edmiston investigates the forces driving long-term patterns in SNAP participation as well as its cyclical variation. He finds that three structural factors?legislative and programmatic changes, poverty, ...
Economic Review , Issue Q I , Pages 59-81

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