Working Papers

The Effects of Gentrification on the Well-Being and Opportunity of Original Resident Adults and Children, with Quentin Brummet (NORC at the University of Chicago)



We use new longitudinal census microdata to provide the first causal evidence of how gentrification affects a broad set of outcomes for original resident adults and children. Gentrification modestly increases out-migration, though movers are not made observably worse off and aggregate neighborhood change is driven primarily by changes to in-migration. At the same time, many original resident adults stay and benefit from declining poverty exposure and rising house values. Children benefit from increased exposure to neighborhood characteristics known to be correlated with economic opportunity, and some are more likely to attend and complete college. Our results suggest that accommodative policies, such as increasing the supply of housing in high-demand urban areas, could increase the opportunity benefits we find, reduce out-migration pressure, and promote long-term affordability.

Media: Atlanta Business Chronicle, CityLab, Detroit Free Press, The Economist, Financial Times, New York Magazine, Next City, Philadelphia Inquirer (original) (editorial board), Seattle Times, WHYY

The Effects of Evictions on Low-Income Households, with Robert Collinson (Notre Dame)



Each year in the US, more than two million renter households report being at risk of eviction, yet there is little causal evidence on how evictions affect low-income households. We assemble novel data linking individuals from housing court cases in New York City to administrative data and leverage the random assignment of cases to courtrooms to estimate the causal effect of evictions on homelessness, health, earnings, employment, and public assistance receipt. Evictions cause large and persistent increases in risk of homelessness, elevate long-term residential instability, and increase emergency room use. We find some evidence that evictions lower earnings modestly, but little evidence that they substantially worsen employment outcomes or increase receipt of public assistance. These results suggest that eviction prevention policies could provide important consumption smoothing benefits to low-income households but are unlikely to substantially reduce poverty on their own.

Does Luxury Housing Construction Increase Rents in Gentrifying Areas? with Evan Mast (Upjohn Institute) and Brian Asquith (Upjohn Institute)

[Updated draft available soon]

A common worry about building housing in gentrifying neighborhoods is that new units will induce additional housing demand by improving nearby amenities or changing household composition, counterintuitively increasing local rents and fueling further gentrification. This line of thought leads to strong local opposition to many new housing developments, likely reducing regional housing supply. We empirically test this theory of induced demand using data on new apartment construction, address-level rental listings, and address-level household migration. Using various spatial differencing approaches, we find that any induced demand effects are overwhelmed by supply effects. The average new apartment building in a low-income census tract decreases listed rents within 250 meters by about $154 dollars per month relative to listings 250-600 meters away. This pattern does not appear in a set of placebo locations—the areas around the sites of future apartment construction. Similarly, we find no evidence that the number or demographic composition of migrants to pre-existing nearby buildings changes after the building's completion. These results suggest that limiting housing construction in an attempt to slow gentrification may be counterproductive.

Media: Los Angeles Times

Works in Progress

Trickle Down or Crowd Out? The Effects of High-Skill Employment and Income Growth on the Consumption, Housing, and Neighborhood Conditions of Low-Skill Households, with Ingrid Gould Ellen (NYU) and Michael Suher (Federal Reserve Board)

In the past two decades, demand for college-educated workers has risen in many cities. While many welcome this trend, there is growing concern about the plight of less educated workers, who have not seen the same gains; indeed, households without any college-educated adults have seen incomes decline in almost all U.S. cities. We explore whether the increasing demand for college-educated workers has compounded the challenges of less educated households through increasing rents or, conversely, has generated new opportunities through positive labor market spillovers, improved city amenities, and increased neighborhood economic diversity. While previous work has analyzed skill sorting across cities, our interest lies in how less educated households remaining in these cities are faring.

Non-Academic Research Publications

Maxwell, N., Hock, H., Verbitsky-Savitz, N., and D. Reed (2012). How Are Women Served by the WIA Adult and Dislocated Worker Programs? Findings from Administrative Data. Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research.

Reed, Deborah, Liu, A., Kleinman, R., Mastri, A., Reed, Davin, Sattar, S., and J. Ziegler (2011). An Effectiveness Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis of Registered Apprenticeship in Ten States. Princeton, NJ: Mathematica Policy Research.