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What Can We Learn about Neighborhood Effects from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment?

Jens Ludwig, Jeffrey B. Liebman, Jeffrey R. Kling, Greg J. Duncan, Lawrence F. Katz, Ronald C. Kessler and Lisa Sanbonmatsu
American Journal of Sociology
Vol. 114, No. 1 (July 2008), pp. 144-188
DOI: 10.1086/588741
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/588741
Page Count: 45
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What Can We Learn about Neighborhood Effects from the Moving to Opportunity Experiment?
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Abstract

Experimental estimates from Moving to Opportunity (MTO) show no significant impacts of moves to lower‐poverty neighborhoods on adult economic self‐sufficiency four to seven years after random assignment. The authors disagree with Clampet‐Lundquist and Massey's claim that MTO was a weak intervention and therefore uninformative about neighborhood effects. MTO produced large changes in neighborhood environments that improved adult mental health and many outcomes for young females. Clampet‐Lundquist and Massey's claim that MTO experimental estimates are plagued by selection bias is erroneous. Their new nonexperimental estimates are uninformative because they add back the selection problems that MTO's experimental design was intended to overcome.

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