Long-term effects of the Moving to Opportunity residential mobility experiment on crime and delinquency.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Objectives

Using data from a randomized experiment, to examine whether moving youth out of areas of concentrated poverty, where a disproportionate amount of crime occurs, prevents involvement in crime.

Methods

We draw on new administrative data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Moving to Opportunity (MTO) experiment. MTO families were randomized into an experimental group offered a housing voucher that could only be used to move to a low-poverty neighborhood, a Section 8 housing group offered a standard housing voucher, and a control group . This paper focuses on MTO youth ages 15-25 in 2001 (n = 4,643) and analyzes intention to treat effects on neighborhood characteristics and criminal behavior (number of violent- and property-crime arrests) through 10 years after randomization.

Results

We find the offer of a housing voucher generates large improvements in neighborhood conditions that attenuate over time and initially generates substantial reductions in violent-crime arrests and sizable increases in property-crime arrests for experimental group males. The crime effects attenuate over time along with differences in neighborhood conditions.

Conclusions

Our findings suggest that criminal behavior is more strongly related to current neighborhood conditions (situational neighborhood effects) than to past neighborhood conditions (developmental neighborhood effects). The MTO design makes it difficult to determine which specific neighborhood characteristics are most important for criminal behavior. Our administrative data analyses could be affected by differences across areas in the likelihood that a crime results in an arrest.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Sciandra, M; Sanbonmatsu, L; Duncan, GJ; Gennetian, LA; Katz, LF; Kessler, RC; Kling, JR; Ludwig, J

Published Date

  • December 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 9 / 4

PubMed ID

  • 24348277

Pubmed Central ID

  • 24348277

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1572-8315

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1573-3750

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s11292-013-9189-9

Language

  • eng