Paul L. Caron

Thursday, February 16, 2023

van Dijk Presents Eviction and Poverty in American Cities Today At UCLA

UCLA Colloquium featuring van Dijk
Winnie van Dijk
(Harvard, NBER) presents Eviction and Poverty in American Cities (with Robert Collinson (Notre Dame; Google Scholar), John Eric Humphries (Yale; Google Scholar), Nicholas Mader (Chapin Hall), Davin Reed (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia; Google Scholar), Daniel Tannenbaum (Nebraska; Google Scholar)) at UCLA today as part of its Colloquium on Tax Policy and Public Finance hosted by Kirk Stark and Jason Oh:

More than two million U.S. households have an eviction case filed against them each year. Policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels are increasingly pursuing policies to reduce the number of evictions, citing harm to tenants and high public expenditures related to homelessness. We study the consequences of eviction for tenants using newly linked administrative data from two large cities.

We document that prior to housing court, tenants experience declines in earnings and employment and increases in financial distress and hospital visits. These pre-trends are more pronounced for tenants who are evicted, which poses a challenge for disentangling correlation and causation. To address this problem, we use an instrumental variables approach based on cases randomly assigned to judges of varying leniency. We find that an eviction order increases homelessness, and reduces earnings, durable consumption, and access to credit. Effects on housing and labor market outcomes are driven by impacts for female and Black tenants.

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