Phil Poverty Essay
Youth who grow up in disadvantaged neighborhoods fare substantially worse than those who grow up with more affluent neighbors on a wide variety of health and socioeconomic outcomes. A fundamental question in the design of appropriate education, health, and social policies for low income families and communities is the extent to which these correlations reflect the causal impacts of neighborhoods as opposed to family and individual attributes that are not directly affected by the residential environment. This paper uses data from a randomized housing mobility experiment to estimate the causal effects on teenage youth of moving out of high-poverty neighborhoods.
There are a variety of theoretical views about …show more content…
In these models, low-income children have limited ability to tap into the resources of the high- 2 income community and may in fact be able to obtain more resources in a low-income neighborhood where they are able to build stronger social ties. Finally, the particular children in high-income neighborhoods with whom poor children associate could be those with the lowest incomes and could be engaging in more risky and delinquent behaviors than the peers that the poor children would have spent time with if they had remained in a low-income neighborhood.
Each of these views is potentially plausible. But the evidence to date distinguishing among these views is essentially indeterminate. Differences in youth outcomes by type of neighborhood reflect, not only the effects of living in a given neighborhood, but also the systematic sorting of families across neighborhoods. Because the sorting process involves many unobserved characteristics, estimating the