Research

Working Papers

Knocking it Down and Mixing it Up: The Impact of Public Housing Regenerations, with Lorenzo Neri [IZA Discussion Paper No. 15855]
Revise and Resubmit, Review of Economics and Statistics
Partly due to their negative effects on surrounding neighborhoods, some countries have gradually been replacing distressed public housing developments with mixed-income housing. This paper studies the effects of such policies on local housing markets in the context of London (UK), where local authorities demolished and rebuilt several public housing developments while adding market-rate units on-site. We show that these ‘regeneration’ programs lead to large increases in nearby house prices and rents over a six-year period, although house prices decrease farther away. The results are consistent with strong demand effects from observed amenity improvements near the buildings and downward price pressures from increased supply dominating in the broader area. We provide suggestive evidence that regenerations involving larger socioeconomic composition changes are associated with higher price increases.
Coverage: GLA Housing, Nada Es Gratis

Local Effects of Bypassing Zoning Regulations in High-Income Areas, with Noémie Sportiche [Draft available upon request]
An increasing number of state and local governments are passing regulations to allow for denser housing in high-income areas. This paper examines how local house prices and existing residents –who are often strongly opposed to these policies– react to this new construction. We focus on housing constructed under Chapter 40B, a Massachusetts state policy that requires all municipalities to maintain a minimum proportion of affordable housing and allows developers to bypass local zoning regulations if those minimums are not met. Using a difference-in-differences design that compares housing located near 40B developments to housing located slightly farther away paired with rich individual-level data, we find that larger 40B developments lead to long-run decreases in nearby house prices, while smaller developments do not affect prices. Our results further show that nearby residents respond by moving out at higher rates after large 40B developments are constructed, though we do not observe significant changes in existing residents’ political participation at the state or federal level. Overall, we do not find strong evidence that such responses can substantially undermine the policy’s goal of reducing economic segregation.

Discrimination Against Housing Vouchers: Evidence from Online Rental Listings, with Jaehee Song [SSRN link]
The Housing Choice Voucher program offers generous subsidies to low-income households for renting housing in the private market in the United States. However, only a fraction of program recipients successfully lease up a housing unit, often staying in high-poverty areas. This paper examines an important contributor to low lease-up rates especially in low-poverty areas: landlord discrimination against voucher holders. Using the universe of Craigslist rental listings, we identify listings containing voucher-related keywords and analyze their attitude toward voucher holders. Among these listings, we find that many landlords seek out voucher holders in high-poverty, high-minority areas, but discriminatory listings are more frequent in low-poverty, low-minority areas. Using a difference-in-differences design, we provide evidence that statewide legislation prohibiting source-of-income discrimination can significantly reduce discriminatory rental listings, particularly in low-poverty, low-minority areas.

Publications

Can Fair Share Policies Expand Neighborhood Choice? Evidence from Bypassing Exclusionary Zoning under Massachusetts Chapter 40B (with N. Sportiche, D. M. Cutler, M. Daepp, and E. M. Graves). Housing Policy Debate, 2024 [Link]

Pecuniary Effects of Public Housing Demolitions: Evidence from Chicago. Regional Science and Urban Economics 98, 2023 [Link] [Ungated version]
Coverage: Building the Skyline

Work in Progress

Neighborhood Change and Local Economic Activity, with Lorenzo Neri

Redistribution through Housing Assistance, with Juliette Fournier

Spillover Effects from Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning, with Lorenzo Neri

Segregated Welfare: The Effects of Federal Public Housing, with Luca Perdoni

The Impact of Massachusetts’ Chapter 40B on Affordable Housing Beneficiaries: Evidence from Housing Lotteries (with Noémie Sportiche and David M. Cutler)
Awarded Russell Sage Foundation Grant