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Jel Classification:R23 

Working Paper
Labor Market Effects of Credit Constraints: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

We exploit the 1998 and 2003 constitutional amendment in Texas—allowing home equity loans and lines of credit for non-housing purposes—as natural experiments to estimate the effect of easier credit access on the labor market. Using state-level as well as micro data and the synthetic control approach, we find that easier access to housing credit led to a notably lower labor force participation rate between 1998 and 2007. We show that our findings are remarkably robust to improved synthetic control methods based on insights from machine learning. We explore treatment effect heterogeneity ...
Working Papers , Paper 1810

Working Paper
The Return to Big City Experience: Evidence from Danish Refugees

We offer causal evidence of higher returns to experience in big cities. Exploiting a natural experiment that settled political refugees across labor markets in Denmark between 1986 and 1998, we find that while refugees initially earn similar wages across locations, those placed in Copenhagen exhibit 35% faster wage growth with each additional year of experience. This gap is driven primarily by differential sorting towards high-wage establishments, occupations, and industries. An estimated spatial model of earnings dynamics attributes an important role to unobserved worker ability: more able ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 24

Discussion Paper
Residential Migration, Entry, and Exit as Seen Through the Lens of Credit Bureau Data

We analyze a large, nationally representative anonymized data set of consumers with a credit report from 2002 to 2010. This is a period that encompasses a boom and bust in consumer credit. Using census data, we classify consumers into four categories of relative neighborhood income and find that, over time, the number and proportion of consumers with a credit report fell in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods and rose in higher-income neighborhoods. Population trends evident from census data explain only a portion of these changes in the location of the credit bureau population. In most ...
Consumer Finance Institute discussion papers , Paper 13-4

Working Paper
Urban Renewal and Inequality: Evidence from Chicago’s Public Housing Demolitions

This paper studies one of the largest spatially targeted redevelopment efforts implemented in the United States: public housing demolitions sponsored by the HOPE VI program. Focusing on Chicago, we study welfare and racial disparities in the impacts of demolitions using a structural model that features a rich set of equilibrium responses. Our results indicate that demolitions had notably heterogeneous effects where welfare decreased for low-income minority households and increased for White households. Counterfactual simulations explore how housing policy mitigates negative effects of ...
Working Papers , Paper 23-19

Working Paper
The Lasting Impact of Historical Residential Security Maps on Experienced Segregation

We study the impact of the 1930s HOLC residential security maps on experienced segregation based on cell phone records which track visits out of and into home neighborhoods. We compare adjacent neighborhoods, one of which was assigned a lower grade for creditworthiness than the other. We use a sample of neighborhood borders which, based on estimated propensity scores, are likely to have been drawn for idiosyncratic reasons. Neighborhoods on the lower graded side of the border are associated with more visits to other historically lower graded destination neighborhoods. Today, these destination ...
Working Paper Series , Paper WP 2023-33

Working Paper
Moving to a new job: the role of home equity, debt, and access to credit

The severe decline in house prices during and after the Great Recession may have hampered adjustment in U.S. labor markets by limiting mobility of unemployed workers. Mobility will suffer if unemployed workers are reluctant to leave homes that, with debt exceeding value, cannot be disposed of without injecting cash or defaulting?a pattern referred to as "housing lock-in." If such reluctance keeps workers from moving from depressed areas to areas with available jobs, the Beveridge curve, which depicts the relationship between vacancies and joblessness, may shift outward. To examine whether ...
Working Papers , Paper 16-1

Working Paper
Gentrification and residential mobility in Philadelphia

Gentrification has provoked considerable debate and controversy about its effects on neighborhoods and the people residing in them. This paper draws on a unique large-scale consumer credit database to examine the mobility patterns of residents in gentrifying neighborhoods in the city of Philadelphia from 2002 to 2014. We find significant heterogeneity in the effects of gentrification across neighborhoods and subpopulations. Residents in gentrifying neighborhoods have slightly higher mobility rates than those in nongentrifying neighborhoods, but they do not have a higher risk of moving to a ...
Working Papers , Paper 15-36

Working Paper
Freeway Revolts!

Freeway revolts were widespread protests across the U.S. following early urban Interstate construction in the mid-1950s. We present theory and evidence from panel data on neighborhoods and travel behavior to show that diminished quality of life from freeway disamenities inspired the revolts, a?ected the allocation of freeways within cities, and changed city structure. First, actual freeway construction diverged from initial plans in the wake of the growing freeway revolts and subsequent policy responses, especially in central neighborhoods. Second, freeways caused slower growth in population, ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-29

Report
Disaster (over-)insurance: the long-term financial and socioeconomic consequences of Hurricane Katrina

Federal disaster insurance?in the form of national flood insurance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other programs?is designed to nationally-distribute large geography-specific shocks like earthquakes and hurricanes. This study examines the local longrun net impact of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent policy response on impacted residents. Using a unique fifteen-year panel of five percent of adult Americans? credit reports, we find higher rates of insolvency and lower homeownership among inundated residents of New Orleans ten years after the storm, relative to their ...
Staff Reports , Paper 807

Working Paper
Racial Disparities in Frontline Workers and Housing Crowding during COVID-19: Evidence from Geolocation Data

We document that racial disparities in COVID-19 in New York City stem from patterns of commuting and housing crowding. During the initial wave of the pandemic, we find that out-of-home activity related to commuting is strongly associated with COVID-19 cases at the ZIP Code level and hospitalization at an individual level. After layoffs of essential workers decreased commuting, we find case growth continued through household crowding. A larger share of individuals in crowded housing or commuting to essential work are Black, Hispanic, and lower-income. As a result, structural inequalities, ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 37

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