The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Low-Income Housing Policy

  • Edgar O. Olsen
Reference work entry


Low-income housing assistance is an important part of the welfare system in many countries. This article discusses the rationale for this government activity, describes the most important differences between different low-income housing programmes, explains why economic theory has limited implications for the effects of these programmes, and summarizes the evidence on their most important effects. The most important finding of the empirical literature on the effects of different housing programmes from the viewpoint of housing policy is that recipient-based housing assistance has provided equally good housing at a much lower total cost than any type of unit-based assistance.


Crowding out Low-Income housing policy Neighbourhood effects Public housing Recipient-Based housing assistance Residential segregation Unit-Based housing assistance 
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access


  1. Jacob, B. 2004. Public housing, housing vouchers, and student achievement: Evidence from public housing demolitions in Chicago. American Economic Review 94: 233–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Lowry, I.S., ed. 1983. Experimenting with housing allowances: The final report of the housing assistance supply experiment. Cambridge, MA: Oelgeschlager, Gunn & Hain.Google Scholar
  3. Malpezzi, S., and K. Vandell. 2002. Does the low-income housing tax credit increase the supply of housing? Journal of Housing Economics 11: 360–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Olsen, E.O. 2003. Housing programs for low-income households. In Means-tested transfer programs in the United States, ed. R. Moffitt. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. Olsen, E.O., C.A. Tyler, J.W. King, and P.E. Carrillo. 2005. The effects of different types of housing assistance on earnings and employment. Cityscape 8: 163–187.Google Scholar
  6. Orr, L., et al. 2003. Moving to opportunity for fair housing demonstration program: Interim impacts evaluation. Washington, DC: US Department of Housing and Urban Development.Google Scholar
  7. Patterson, R., et al. 2004. Evaluation of the welfare to work voucher program: Report to congress. Washington, DC: US Department of Housing and Urban Development.Google Scholar
  8. Schone, B.S. 1992. Do means tested transfers reduce labor supply? Economics Letters 40: 353–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Sinai, T., and J. Waldfogel. 2005. Do low-income housing subsidies increase the occupied housing stock? Journal of Public Economics 11–12: 2137–2164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Edgar O. Olsen
    • 1
  1. 1.