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Author: Dickey, Bret Michael
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1. Dickey, Bret Michael
Participation Dynamics in Low-Income Housing Assistance Programs
Ph.D. Dissertation, Stanford University, 1999
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: UMI - University Microfilms, Bell and Howell Information and Learning
Keyword(s): Benefits; Exits; Geographical Variation; Household Composition; Income; Income Dynamics/Shocks; Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP); Welfare

In 1998, President Clinton signed the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act into law. Like the welfare reform law that preceded it, a major goal of housing reform is to help residents of assisted housing make the transition from welfare to work. Despite the fact that low-income housing assistance is one of the largest U.S. welfare programs, we know little about the dynamics of participation in these programs. This dissertation analyzes how housing benefits affect housing assistance participation by young women, addressing two important challenges that have hampered previous studies. First, I use an empirical model that accounts for the fundamental characteristic of housing assistance--it is rationed. Second, using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (including a special geographic supplement), I am able to correctly match local housing benefits to individuals. To allow for the effects of rationing, I estimate a dynamic rather than static model of housing assistance participation. Using a hurdle negative binomial model, I analyze the time spent in assisted housing by women during the 11 years between ages 18 and 28. I find that housing benefits (measured by the local Fair Market Rent) have a large and statistically significant effect on participation. Single mothers living in high-benefit areas stay substantially longer in assisted housing than do those in low-benefit areas. Consequently, assisted units in high-benefit areas turn over less frequently, resulting in fewer single mothers receiving any housing assistance in these areas. Supplementing the NLSY with administrative data on the composition of assisted housing, I extend this model to allow for separate effects of tenant-based and project-based housing assistance. While the results have the expected sign, I do not find statistically significant differences between the two types of assistance. Finally, I expand this analysis by examining exits from assisted housing using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation. I find that few exits are consistent with the standard welfare-to-work story. In fact, the majority of household heads have relatively little change in their own economic circumstances surrounding exits, whereas changes in family and household composition seem to be very important.
Bibliography Citation
Dickey, Bret Michael. Participation Dynamics in Low-Income Housing Assistance Programs. Ph.D. Dissertation, Stanford University, 1999.