The Impact of Housing on the Wellbeing of Children and Youths
||Blau, David; Donald Haurin
||The Impact of Housing on the Wellbeing of Children and Youths
||20th Annual European Real Estate Society Conference in Vienna, Austria
||Housing subsidies are often justified by claims that high quality housing improves households’ economic and social outcomes. The goal of our research is to undertake a comprehensive empirical study of the causal impact of housing characteristics on the cognitive, behavioral, and health outcomes of children and young adults. The primary hypothesis is that the quality of a child’s dwelling has a positive effect on child outcomes in both the short and the long run, holding other factors constant. Other key hypotheses are that the effects of housing differ by race, ethnicity, and income. In particular, we expect that there are diminishing returns to housing quality, so housing effects will be more important for low income children. We study this issue using child production function models. There are few studies of the impact of the attributes of dwellings on child and young adult outcomes. Most existing studies have focused on the impact of homeownership compared with renting. Using mostly U.S. data they suggest there is a small positive impact on selected child and young adult outcomes of being a homeowner. But very few studies have measured the impact of crowding or building type on child outcomes.We merge rich longitudinal data on child outcomes (National Longitudinal Study of Youth and Child Supplements) with information on the respondents’ house characteristics (Zillow data). We then analyze both the short and long term effects of house characteristics experienced during childhood. Examples of child outcomes include math and reading cognition, health, and behavioral problems. Examples of young adult outcomes studied include graduation from high school, wages, employment, and criminal convictions. Examples of dwelling characteristics include the square footage of the dwelling and lot, number of bedrooms, type of structure (single or multifamily), location, whether owned or rented, persons per room, and interviewer observations of the home environment. The study will clarify whether housing policies should be directed towards encouraging homeownership, toward dwellings’ quality, or if there is no measureable effect on child outcomes. A particular focus will be on the outcomes experienced by the children of low income parents.
||House attributes, Child outcomes, Homeownership, Youth wages, Production function
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||D-8: Housing Markets & Economics
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