Moved to Opportunity: The Long-Run Effects of Public Housing Demolition on Children

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This is a paper in the Economic Impacts of Public Housing literature.


Chyn, Eric. "Moved to opportunity: The long-run effects of public housing demolition on children." American Economic Review 108, no. 10 (2018): 3028-56.


To understand the effect of public housing vs housing vouchers on children's outcomes using public housing demolitions in Chicago


Only other study on the effect of public housing demolitions on former residents is Brian Jacob's 2004 paper on short-run academic outcomes. This is first on longer-run outcomes


During the 90s the Chicago Housing Authority provided services to 5% of the city's population and owned 17 housing developments for families

Buildings were chosen for demolition due to acute issues or by those with the most severe maintenance issues

Data & Key Variables

CHA building records. Illinois social assistance core files. Unemployment insurance records 1995-2009 (earnings, employment). Arrest records

Buildings demolished due to 1995-1998 HOPE VI grants - 53 buildings over 7 projects. 20 demolished & 33 control buildings


Compares displaced and non-displaced children from the same public housing development


Displaced children are 9% more likely to be employed as adults than non-displaced children and have 16% higher earnings. They are also 14% less likely to have a violent crime arrest and are less likely to drop out of high school