October 25, 2013
W13-7: What is the incidence of housing vouchers? In a frictionless, price-taking equilibrium, increased generosity of a narrowly-targeted subsidy causes increases in unit quality. However, search frictions may limit quality improvements and subsidies may accrue to landlords through price discrimination.
Analyzing a 2005 formula change for Housing Choice Vouchers, we estimate that a $1 increase in the county-wide price ceiling raised same-address voucher rents by 13-20 cents. For tenants who moved, quality improvements were minimal. Second, we find that a Dallas pilot which replaced a metro-wide price ceiling with ZIP-code-specific ceilings improved tenants’ chosen neighborhood quality by 0.2 standard deviations.
This publication was originally published 10/25/2013.
It was revised on 04/19/2016.
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