Long-term effects of the Moving to Opportunity residential mobility experiment on crime and delinquency
Purchase on Springer.com
$39.95 / €34.95 / £29.95*
Rent the article at a discountRent now
* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Angrist, J. D., Imbens, G. W., & Rubin, D. B. (1996). Identification of Causal Effects Using Instrumental Variables. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 91(434), 444–455. CrossRef
- Becker, G. S., & Murphy, K. M. (2000). Social Economics: Market Behavior in a Social Environment (Vol. 2, p. 170). Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
- Bellair, P. E. (2000). Informal Surveillance And Street Crime : A Complex Relationship. Criminology, 38(1), 137–170. CrossRef
- Beyers, J. M., Loeber, R., Wikström, P.-O. H., & Stouthamer-Loeber, M. (2001). What predicts adolescent violence in better-off neighborhoods? Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 29(5), 369–381. CrossRef
- Bloom, H. S. (1984). Accounting for No-Shows in Experimental Evaluation Designs. Evaluation Review, 8(2), 225–246. CrossRef
- Borjas, G. J. (1995). Ethnicity, neighborhoods and human-capital externalities. American Economic Review, 85(3), 365–390.
- Brock, W. A., & Durlauf, S. N. (2001). Interactions-Based Models. In J. J. Heckman & E. E. Leamer (Eds.), Handbook of Econometrics (Vol. 5, pp. 3297–3380). Amsterdam: North-Holland.
- Brooks-Gunn, J., Duncan, G. J., Klebanov, P. K., & Sealand, N. (1993). Do Neighborhoods Influence Child and Adolescent Development? American Journal of Sociology, 99(2), 353–395. CrossRef
- Case, A. C., & Katz, L. F. (1991). The Company You Keep: The Effects of Family and Neighborhood on Disadvantaged Youths. Cambridge: National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 3705.
- Clarke, R. V. (1995). Situational Crime Prevention: Achievements and Challenges. In M. H. Tonry & D. R. Farrington (Eds.), Building a Safer Society: Strategic Approaches to Crime Prevention (Vol. 19, pp. 91–150). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Coleman, J. S. (1988). Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital. (E. L. Lesser, Ed.)American Journal of Sociology, 94, S95–S120.
- Cook, P. J., & Goss, K. (1996). A selective review of the social-contagion literature. Working Paper: Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University.
- Cook, T. D., Shadish, W. R., & Wong, V. C. (2008). Three Conditions under Which Experiments and Observational Studies Produce Comparable Causal Estimates : New Findings from Within-Study Comparisons Abstract. Policy Analysis, 27(4), 724–750. CrossRef
- Cornish, D. B., & Clarke, R. V. (2003). Opportunities, precipitators and criminal decisions: a reply to Wortley’s critique of situational crime prevention. Crime Prevention Studies, 16, 41–96.
- Crane, J. (1991). The Epidemic Theory of Ghettos and Neighborhood Effects on Dropping Out and Teenage Childbearing. American Journal of Sociology, 96(5), 1226–1259. CrossRef
- Esbensen, F.-A., & Huizinga, D. (1990). Community Structure and Drug Use: From a Social Disorganization Perspective. Justice Quarterly, 7(4), 691–709. CrossRef
- Furstenberg, F. F., Cook, T. D., Eccles, J., & Elder, G. H. (1999). Managing to make it: Urban families in high-risk neighborhoods. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Gaviria, A., & Raphael, S. (2001). School-Based Peer Effects and Juvenile Behavior. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 83(2), 257–268. CrossRef
- Gebler, N., Gennetian, L. A., Hudson, M. L., Ward, B., & Sciandra, M. (2012). Achieving MTO’s High Effective Response Rates: Strategies and Tradeoffs. Cityscape, 14(2), 57–86.
- Glaeser, E. L., & Scheinkman, J. A. (1999). Measuring social interactions. Unpublished paper, Harvard University.
- Glaeser, E. L., Sacerdote, B., & Scheinkman, J. A. (1996). Crime and Social Interactions. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 111(2), 507–548. CrossRef
- Goering, J., Kraft, J., Feins, J. D., McInnis, D., Holin, M. J., & Elhassan, H. (1999). Moving to Opportunity for fair housing demonstration program: Current status and initial findings. Washington: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- Gottfredson, M. R., & Hirschi, T. (1990). A General Theory of Crime. (F. Cullen & R. Agnew, Eds.)Criminological theory Past to present (Vol. 34, p. 324). Stanford University Press.
- Groves, R. M., Fowler, F. J., Couper, M. P., Lepkowski, J. M., & Singer, E. (2004). Survey Methodology (7th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons.
- Heller, S., Pollack, H. F., Ander, R., & Ludwig, J. (2013). Preventing Youth Violence and Dropout: A Randomized Field Experiment. Cambridge, MA: National Bureau of Economic Research Working Paper 19014.
- Hirschfield, A., & Bowers, K. (1997). The Development of a Social, Demographic and Land Use Profiler for Areas of High Crime. British Journal of Criminology, 37(1), 103–120. CrossRef
- Hogan, D. P., & Kitagawa, E. M. (1985). The impact of social status, family structure, and neighborhood on the fertility of Black adolescents. American Journal of Sociology, 90(4), 825–855. CrossRef
- Hogan, D. P., Astone, N. M., & Kitagawa, E. M. (1985). Social and Environmental Factors Influencing Contraceptive Use Among Black Adolescents. Family Planning Perspectives, 17(4), 165–169. CrossRef
- Homel, R., & Clarke, R. V. (1997). A revised classification of situational crime prevention techniques. In S. P. Lab (Ed.), Crime Prevention at a Crossroads (pp. 17–27). Cincinnati: Anderson.
- Huizinga, D., Thornberry, T. P., Knight, K. E., Lovegrove, P. J., Loeber, R., Hill, K., & Farrington, D. R. (2007). Disproportionate Minority Contact in the Juvenile Justice System: A Study of Differential Minority Arrest/Referral to Court in Three Cities. Washington: U.S. Department of Juvenile Justice.
- Jencks, C., & Mayer, S. E. (1990). The social consequences of growing up in a poor neighborhood. In L. Lynn & M. McGeary (Eds.), Inner-City Poverty in the United States (pp. 111–186). Washington: National Academy Press.
- Kerner, O., Lindsay, J. V., Harris, F. R., Brooke, E. W., Corman, J. C., McCulloch, W. M., Abel, I.W., Thornton, C. B., Wilkins, R., Peden, K. G., Jenkins, H. (1988). The Kerner Report: The 1968 report of the national advisory commission on civil disorders. Pantheon.
- Kleiman, M. A. R. (1993). Enforcement swamping: A positive-feedback mechanism in rates of illicit activity. Mathematical Computational Modeling, 17(2), 65–75. CrossRef
- Kling, J. R., Ludwig, J., & Katz, L. F. (2005). Neighborhood Effects on Crime for Female and Male Youth: Evidence from a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120(1), 87–130.
- Kling, J. R., Liebman, J. B., & Katz, L. F. (2007). Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects. Econometrica, 75(1), 83–119. CrossRef
- Knudsen, E. I., Heckman, J. J., Cameron, J. L., & Shonkoff, J. P. (2006). Building America’s future workforce: Economic, neurobiological, and behavioral perspectives on investment in human skill development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(27), 10155–10162. CrossRef
- LaGrange, T., & Silverman, R. (1999). Low self-control and opportunity: Testing the general theory of crime as an explanation for gender differences in delinquency. Criminology, 37(1), 41–72. CrossRef
- Levitt, S. D. (2004). Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 18(1), 163–190. CrossRef
- Ludwig, J. (2012). The Long-Term Results From the Moving to Opportunity Residential Mobility Demonstration. Cityscape, 14(2), 1–28.
- Ludwig, J., & Kling, J. R. (2007). Is Crime Contagious? The Journal of Law and Economics, 50(3), 491–518. CrossRef
- Ludwig, J., Liebman, J. B., Kling, J. R., Duncan, G. J., Katz, L. F., Kessler, R. C., & Sanbonmatsu, L. (2008). What Can We Learn about Neighborhood Effects from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment? American Journal of Sociology, 114(1), 144–188. CrossRef
- Ludwig, J., Sanbonmatsu, L., Gennetian, L., Adam, E., Duncan, G. J., Katz, L. F., Kessler, R. C., Kling, J. R., Lindau, S. T., Whitaker, R. C., & McDade, T. W. (2011). Neighborhoods, obesity, and diabetes-a randomized social experiment. The New England Journal of Medicine, 365(16), 1509–1519. CrossRef
- Ludwig, J., Duncan, G. J., Gennetian, L. A., Katz, L. F., Kessler, R. C., Kling, J. R., & Sanbonmatsu, L. (2012). Neighborhood Effects on the Long-Term Well-Being of Low-Income Adults. Science, 337(6101), 1505–1510. CrossRef
- Ludwig, J., Duncan, G. J., Gennetian, L. A., Katz, L. F., Kessler, R. C., Kling, J. R., & Sanbonmatsu, L. (2013). Long-Term Neighborhood Effects on Low-Income Families: Evidence from Moving to Opportunity. American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings, 103(3), 226–231. CrossRef
- Luttmer, E. F. P. (2005). Neighbors as negatives: Relative earnings and well-being. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120(3), 963–1102.
- Manski, C. F. (2000). Economic analysis of social interactions. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14(3), 115–136. CrossRef
- Moffitt, R. A. (2001). Policy interventions, low-level equilibria, and social interactions. In S. N. Durlauf & H. P. Young (Eds.), Social dynamics. Cambridge: MIT Press.
- Morenoff, J. D., Sampson, R. J., & Raudenbush, S. W. (2001). Neighborhood inequality, collective efficacy, and the spatial dynamics of urban violence. Criminology, 39(3), 517–558. CrossRef
- Olsen, E. O. (2003). Housing Programs for Low-Income Households. In R. A. Moffitt (Ed.), Means-Tested Transfer Programs in the United States (Vol. 3, pp. 365–442). University of Chicago Press.
- Orr, L., Feins, J. D., Jacob, R., Beecroft, E., Sanbonmatsu, L., Katz, L. F., Liebman, J. B., & Kling, J. R. (2003). Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing Demonstration Program: Interim Impacts Evaluation. Washington: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Policy Development and Research.
- Rivkin, S. G., Hanushek, E. A., & Kain, J. F. (2005). Teachers, schools, and academic achievement. Econometrica, 73(2), 417–458. CrossRef
- Rubinowitz, L. S., & Rosenbaum, J. E. (2000). Crossing the class and color lines: From public housing to white suburbia. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
- Sampson, R. J. (2012). Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. CrossRef
- Sampson, R. J., & Raudenbush, S. W. (1999). Systematic social observation of public spaces: A new look at disorder in urban neighborhoods. American Journal of Sociology, 105(3), 603–651. CrossRef
- Sampson, R. J., Raudenbush, S. W., & Earls, F. (1997). Neighborhoods and violent crime: a multilevel study of collective efficacy. Science, 277(5328), 918–924. CrossRef
- Sampson, R. J., Morenoff, J. D., & Gannon-Rowley, T. (2002). Assessing “Neighborhood Effects”: Social Processes and New Directions in Research. Annual Review of Sociology, 28(1), 443–478. CrossRef
- Sampson, R. J., Morenoff, J. D., & Raudenbush, S. (2005). Social anatomy of racial and ethnic disparities in violence. American Journal of Public Health, 95(2), 224–232. CrossRef
- Sanbonmatsu, L., Ludwig, J., Katz, L. F., Gennetian, L. A., Duncan, G. J., Kessler, R. C., Adam, E., McDade, T. W., & Lindau, S. T. (2011). Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing Demonstration Program: Final Impacts Evaluation. DC: Washington.
- Sherman, L. W. (2002). Fair and Effective Policing. In J. Q. Wilson & J. Petersilia (Eds.), Crime: Public Policies for Crime Control (pp. 383–412). Oakland: Institute for Contemporary Studies Press.
- Shonkoff, J. P., & Phillips, D. (2000). From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood development. Washington: National Academy Press.
- Shonkoff, J. P., Garner, A. S., et al. (2012). The Lifelong Effects of Early Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress. Pediatrics, 129(1), e232–e246. CrossRef
- Shroder, M. (2002). Locational constraint, housing counseling, and successful lease-up in a randomized housing voucher experiment. Journal of Urban Economics, 51(2), 315–338. CrossRef
- Simons, L. G., Simons, R. L., Conger, R. D., & Brody, G. H. (2004). Collective Socialization and Child Conduct Problems: A Multilevel Analysis with an African American Sample. Youth & Society, 35(3), 267–292. CrossRef
- Warner, B. D., & Rountree, P. W. (1997). Local social ties in a community and crime model: Questioning the systemic nature of informal social control. Social Problems, 44, 520. CrossRef
- Wikstrom, P.-O. H., & Loeber, R. (2000). Do Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Cause Well-Adjusted Children To Become Adolescent Delinquents? a Study of Male Juvenile Serious Offending, Individual Risk and Protective Factors, and Neighborhood Context. Criminology, 38(4), 1109–1142. CrossRef
- Wilson, W. J. (1987). The Truly Disadvantaged: The Inner City, the Underclass, and Public Policy. Chicago: University Press.
- Zimmerman, G. M., & Messner, S. F. (2010). Neighborhood Context and the Gender Gap in Adolescent Violent Crime. American Sociological Review, 75(6), 958–980. CrossRef
- Zimring, F. (2011). The City That Became Safe: The City that Became Safe: New York's Lessons for Urban Crime and Its Control. New York: Oxford University Press. CrossRef
- Long-term effects of the Moving to Opportunity residential mobility experiment on crime and delinquency
Journal of Experimental Criminology
Volume 9, Issue 4 , pp 451-489
- Cover Date
- Print ISSN
- Online ISSN
- Springer Netherlands
- Additional Links
- Neighborhood effects
- Randomized experiment
- Long-term impacts
- Author Affiliations
- 1. National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA
- 2. School of Education, University of California, 2056 Education Building, Mail Code 5500, Irvine, CA, 92697, USA
- 3. Institute of Human Development and Social Change, New York University and National Bureau of Economic Research, 246 Greene Street, Floor 6E, New York, NY, 10003, USA
- 4. Department of Economics, Harvard University and National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA
- 5. Department of Health Care Policy, Harvard Medical School, 180 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115, USA
- 6. Congressional Budget Office and National Bureau of Economic Research, 2nd and D streets, SW, Washington, DC, 20515, USA
- 7. University of Chicago and National Bureau of Economic Research, 1155 East 60th Street, Chicago, IL, 60637, USA