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Title The Effects of Moving to Opportunity on Youth Political Behavior
Post date 02/06/2019
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale Prior research by Gay (2012) indicates that adults who were offered housing vouchers as part of MTO were less likely to participate in the political process after relocation, possibly due to the loss of social ties that accompanies residential mobility. We aim to extend this research by observing long-term civic participation among MTO participants in the years that followed, in particular, the causal effect of MTO intervention on voter registration and turnout. In addition, we wish to observe long-term participation among the adult children of MTO participants. Research by Chetty et al. found that the effects of MTO on life outcomes can change overtime, and that treatment effects are stronger for children than adults. We want to explore similar patterns for effects on political behavior. Our mediation models will also test for various mechanisms. These are outlined in “Moving to Opportunity for Fair Housing Demonstration Program: Final Impacts Evaluation,” Exhibit 1.1 (Sanbonmatsu et al. 2011). Finally, we seek to account for spurious effects from contemporary non-political outcomes of MTO.
C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested? We hypothesize that when children are assigned to a low-poverty voucher condition, their political participation will be higher later in life than those who are assigned to a no-voucher condition. Those assigned to a standard voucher condition (unrestricted) will exhibit weaker effects. We expect those assigned as adults or teens to be much less positively affected, likely exhibiting null or negative effects. We will test the moderating effects of gender, race/ethnicity (for racial subgroups with sufficient power), duration of exposure/moving frequency (if available), and city at random assignment (if sufficiently powered). Additionally, we will conduct mediation analysis, using nonparametric procedures (Imai et al. 2010) to estimate the average causal mediation effect and average direct effect of each respective mediator. For example, prior research suggests the MTO intervention led to gains in education and later earnings for children whose families received vouchers to live in low-poverty neighborhoods. These are plausible mechanisms for higher rates of political participation later in life. Mediation analysis will allow us to explore the degree to which any gains in political participation among children assigned to the low-poverty vouchers are driven by higher educational attainment and improved earnings.
C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? * The research team will be licensing data about the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Moving to Opportunity (MTO) program from the National Bureau for Economics Research. The MTO data will be matched at the individual level with voter registration records.
C4 Country United States
C5 Scale (# of Units) The sample size of the study is approximately 16,000 individual participants.
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? No
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? not provided by authors
C8 IRB Number not provided by authors
C9 Date of IRB Approval not provided by authors
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? The intervention was implemented by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research? No
C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published? not provided by authors
C13 JEL Classification(s) not provided by authors