System Working Paper 17-15

Evidence on the Production of Cognitive Achievement from Moving to Opportunity

Dionissi Aliprantis | Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Published June 13, 2017

This paper performs a subgroup analysis on the effect of receiving a Moving to Opportunity (MTO) housing voucher on test scores. I find evidence of heterogeneity by number of children in the household in Boston, gender in Chicago, and race/ethnicity in Los Angeles. To study the mechanisms driving voucher effect heterogeneity, I develop a generalized Rubin Causal Model and propose an estimator to identify transition-specific Local Average Treatment Effects (LATEs) of school and neighborhood quality. Although I cannot identify such LATEs with the MTO data, the analysis demonstrates that membership in a specific demographic group is more predictive of voucher effects than is the group’s average change in school or neighborhood quality. I discuss some possible explanations.

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