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The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children: New Evidence from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment

August 2015

Raj Chetty, Nathaniel Hendren, Lawrence F. Katz


This report analyzes the effects of the “Moving to Opportunity” experiment. The experiment consisted of randomly assigning families from highly impoverished housing projects into a treatment and control group. Members of the treatment group were given vouchers to move into neighborhoods that were less impoverished. Results suggest significant improvement to families that moved into lower-impoverished neighborhoods. Among the benefits to children (under 13) at the time of moving included higher university attendance rates, higher future salaries (31% higher), and lower probability of becoming a single parent. However, slightly negative effects were found for children over 13 years old.

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Policy Implications

Providing housing vouchers may be an effective way to reduce poverty and increase education by targeting children. However, care should be taken that vouchers are directed to families with children under 13 years old.

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