Do Vouchers Protect Low‐Income Households from Rising Rents?

Eastern Economic Journal, 2020 (with Ingrid Ellen)

Abstract: Using restricted administrative data on the voucher program, we examine the experience of voucher holders in metropolitan areas with rising rents. While some of our models suggest that rising rents in metropolitan areas are associated with a slight increase in rent-to-income ratios among voucher holders, poor renters in general see significantly larger increases in rent-to-income ratios. We see little evidence that rising rents push voucher holders to worse neighborhoods, with voucher holders in central cities ending up in lower poverty neighborhoods as rents rise. It appears that vouchers may help low-income households remain in neighborhoods as they gentrify.

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