Jeffrey Kling

First name
Jeffrey
Last name
Kling
Abstract

This paper examines the short-run impacts of a change in residential neighborhood on the
well-being of low-income families, using evidence from a program in which eligibility for a housing
voucher was determined by random lottery. We examine the experiences of households at the
Boston site of Moving To Opportunity (MTO), a demonstration program in five cities. Families in
high poverty public housing projects applied to MTO and were assigned by lottery to one of three
groups: Experimental — offered mobility counseling and a Section 8 subsidy valid only in a Census
tract with a poverty rate of less than 10 percent; Section 8 Comparison — offered a geographically
unrestricted Section 8 subsidy; or Control — offered no new assistance, but continued to be eligible
for public housing.
Our quantitative analyses of program impacts uses data on 540 families from a baseline
survey at program enrollment, a follow-up survey administered l to 3.5 years after random
assignment, and state administrative data on earnings and welfare receipt. 48 percent of the
Experimental group and 62 percent of the Section 8 Comparison group moved through the MTO
program. One to three years after program entry, families in both treatment groups were more likely
to be residing in neighborhoods with low poverty rates and high education levels than were families
in the Control group. However, while members of the Experimental group were much more likely
to be residing in suburban communities than were those in the Section 8 group, the lower program
take-up rate among the Experimental group resulted in more families remaining in the most
distressed communities. Households in both treatment groups experienced improvements in
multiple measures of well-being relative to the Control group including increased safety, improved
health among household heads, and fewer behavior problems among boys. Experimental group
children were also less likely to be a victim of a personal crime, to be injured, or to experience an
asthma attack. There are no significant impacts of either MTO treatment on the employment,
earnings, or welfare receipt of household heads in the first three years after random assignment.

Year of Publication
2000
Number
441
Date Published
06/2000
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
Quarterly Journal of Economics, May 2001
Liebman, J., Katz, L., & Kling, J. (2000). Moving to Opportunity in Boston: Early Results of a Randomized Mobility Experiment. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01zw12z530b (Original work published 06/2000AD)
Working Papers
Author
Abstract

Incarceration directly affects a significant and increasing share of Americans, and the
lengths of new incarceration spells have increased dramatically in the past twenty years.
Employment in the legitimate, mainstream economy is a key factor in the reintegration of former
inmates into society after release. While considerable literature documents large adverse labor
market consequences of going to prison, this paper provides the first evidence focusing directly
on the effects of increases in incarceration length on the employment and earnings prospects of
individuals after their release from prison. Data on inmates are from the state system in Florida
and the federal system in California, linked to administrative records of quarterly earnings.
This paper utilizes a variety of research designs in an attempt to identify the causal
effects of increases in incarceration length: controlling for observable factors, accounting for
pre-spell differences in outcomes, and using instrumental variables for incarceration length based
on randomly assigned judges with different sentencing propensities. The results show no
consistent evidence of adverse labor market consequences of longer incarceration length using
any of the analytical methods in either the state or federal data.

Year of Publication
2004
Number
494
Date Published
08/2004
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
8282
Kling, J. (2004). Incarceration Length, Employment, and Earnings. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp010p0966911 (Original work published 08/2004AD)
Working Papers
Abstract

The Moving To Opportunity randomized housing voucher demonstration finds virtually no significant
effects on employment or earnings of adults. Using qualitative data from in-depth, semi-structured
interviews with 67 participants in Baltimore, we find that although the voucher and control groups have
similar rates of employment and earnings, respondents’ relationship to the labor market does differ by
program group. Our analysis suggests that the voucher group did not experience employment or earnings
gains in part because of human capital barriers that existed prior to moving to a low-poverty
neighborhood. In addition, employed respondents in all groups were heavily concentrated in retail and
health care jobs. To secure or maintain employment, they relied heavily on a particular job search strategy
– informal referrals from similarly skilled and credentialed acquaintances who already held jobs in these
sectors. Though experimentals were more likely to have employed neighbors, few of their neighbors held
jobs in these sectors and could not provide such referrals. Thus controls had an easier time garnering
such referrals. Additionally, the configuration of the metropolitan area’s public transportation routes in
relationship to the locations of hospitals, nursing homes, and malls posed additional transportation
challenges to experimentals as they searched for employment – challenges controls were less likely to
face.

Year of Publication
2006
Number
511
Date Published
03/2006
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
8310
Turney, K., Clampet-Lundquist, S., Edin, K., Kling, J., & Duncan, G. (2006). Neighborhood Effects on Barriers to Employment: Results From a Randomized Housing Mobility Experiment in Baltimore. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01cr56n0997 (Original work published 03/2006AD)
Working Papers
Abstract

We estimate the post-release economic effects of participation in prison-based General
Educational Development (GED) programs using a panel of earnings records and a rich set of
individual information from administrative data in the state of Florida. Fixed effects estimates of
the impact of participating in the GED education program show post-release quarterly earnings
gains of about 15 percent for program participants relative to observationally similar nonparticipants.
We also show, however, that these earnings gains accrue only to racial/ethnic
minority offenders and any GED-related earnings gains for this group seem to fade in the third
year after release from prison. Estimates comparing offenders who obtained a GED to those who
participated in GED-related prison education programs but left prison without a GED show no
systematic evidence of an independent impact of the credential itself on post-release quarterly
earnings.

Year of Publication
2004
Number
489
Date Published
07/2004
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
8321
Tyler, J., & Kling, J. (2004). Prison-Based Education and Re-Entry into the Mainstream Labor Market. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01zk51vg782 (Original work published 07/2004AD)
Working Papers
Abstract

We study adult economic and health outcomes in the Moving to Opportunity (MTO)
demonstration, a randomized housing mobility experiment in which families living in highpoverty
U.S. public housing projects in five cities were given vouchers to help them move to
private housing units in lower-poverty neighborhoods. An “experimental” group was offered
vouchers valid only in a low-poverty neighborhood; a “Section 8” group was offered traditional
housing vouchers without geographic restriction; a control group was not offered vouchers. Our
sample consists largely of black and Hispanic female household heads with children.
Five years after random assignment, the families offered housing vouchers through MTO
lived in safer neighborhoods that had significantly lower poverty rates than those of the control
group not offered vouchers. However, we find no significant overall effects on adult
employment, earnings, or public assistance receipt -- though our sample sizes are not sufficiently
large to rule out moderate effects in either direction. In contrast, we do find significant mental
health benefits of the MTO intervention for the experimental group. We also demonstrate a more
general pattern for the mental health results using both treatment groups of systematically larger
effect sizes for groups experiencing larger changes in neighborhood poverty rates. In our
analysis of physical health outcomes, we find a significant reduction in obesity, but no
significant effects on four other aspects of physical health (general health, asthma, physical
limitations, and hypertension), and our summary measure of physical health was not significantly
affected by the MTO treatment for the overall sample.

Year of Publication
2004
Number
481
Date Published
04/2004
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
8346
Sanbonmatsu, L., Liebman, J., Katz, L., & Kling, J. (2004). Moving to Opportunity and Tranquility: Neighborhood Effects on Adult Economic Self-Sufficiency and Health From a Randomized Housing Voucher Experiment. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01qz20ss50t (Original work published 04/2004AD)
Working Papers
Abstract

The Moving to Opportunity (MTO) demonstration assigned housing vouchers via random
lottery to low-income public housing residents in five cities. We use the exogenous variation in
residential locations generated by the MTO demonstration to estimate the effects of
neighborhoods on youth crime and delinquency. We find that the offer to relocate to lowerpoverty
areas reduces the incidence of arrests among female youth for violent crimes and
property crimes, and increases self-reported problem behaviors and property crime arrests for
male youth -- relative to a control group. Female and male youth move through MTO into
similar types of neighborhoods, so the gender difference in MTO treatment effects seems to
reflect differences in responses to similar neighborhoods. Within-family analyses similarly show
that brothers and sisters respond differentially to the same new neighborhood environments with
more adverse effects for males. Males show some short-term improvements in delinquent
behaviors from moves to lower-poverty areas, but these effects are reversed and gender
differences in MTO treatment effects become pronounced by 3 to 4 years after random
assignment.

Year of Publication
2004
Number
482
Date Published
03/2004
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
8353
Katz, L., Kling, J., & Ludwig, J. (2004). Youth Criminal Behavior in the Moving to Opportunity Experiment. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01tq57nr02d (Original work published 03/2004AD)
Working Papers
Abstract

We estimate that permitting inmate labor would likely increase national output, but by
less than 0.2 percent of Gross Domestic Product. The largest social benefits from inmate labor
are likely to come about from decreased recidivism, although the effect of inmate labor on
subsequent crime and recidivism rates has not been adequately studied. The potential inmate
workforce is low skilled. We estimate that permitting inmate labor could reduce wages of high
school dropouts in the private workforce by 5 percent. To improve the economic contribution of
inmate labor, we propose that private firms be allowed to bid for inmate labor, and that inmate
workers be subject to all relevant labor legislation, including the right to collective
representation. Alternative strategies for reducing recidivism and integrating offenders into
mainstream society upon release, such as education and training, should also be considered,
perhaps in conjunction with inmate labor.

Year of Publication
2001
Number
449
Date Published
01/2001
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
Reprinted in IRRA 53rd. Annual Proceedings, January 2001.
Krueger, A., & Kling, J. (2001). Cost, Benefits and Distributional Consequences of Inmate Labor. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01h702q638x (Original work published 01/2001AD)
Working Papers
Abstract

We analyze the effects of neighborhood characteristics on the mortality of black male
youth in families relocated through the Gautreaux program, a residential mobility program
implemented in Chicago in 1976. While we find significant evidence of neighborhood selfselection
by families participating in Gautreaux, we nonetheless find evidence that certain
placement neighborhood characteristics were associated with lower male youth mortality rates
after controlling for household and origin neighborhood characteristics. Placement
neighborhood characteristics related to human capital and work were more important predictors
of male youth mortality than characteristics related to race, poverty, or family composition.

Year of Publication
2004
Number
491
Date Published
07/2004
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
7840
Votruba, M., & Kling, J. (2004). Effects of Neighborhood Characteristics on the Mortality of Black Male Youth: Evidence From Gautreaux. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01000000010 (Original work published 07/2004AD)
Working Papers
Abstract

Several important social science literatures hinge on the functional relationship between
neighborhood characteristics and individual outcomes. Although there have been numerous
non-experimental estimates of these relationships, there are serious concerns about their
reliability because individuals self-select into neighborhoods. This paper uses data from HUD’s
Moving to Opportunity (MTO) randomized housing voucher experiment to estimate the
relationship between neighborhood poverty and individual outcomes using experimental
variation. In addition, it assesses the reliability of non-experimental estimates by comparing
them to experimental estimates.
We find that our method for using experimental variation to estimate the relationship
between neighborhood poverty and individual outcomes – instrumenting for neighborhood
poverty with site-by-treatment group interactions – produces precise estimates in models in
which poverty enters linearly. Our estimates of nonlinear and threshold models are not precise
enough to be conclusive, though many of our point estimates suggest little, if any, deviation from
linearity. Our non-experimental estimates are inconsistent with our experimental estimates,
suggesting that non-experimental estimates are not reliable. Moreover, the selection pattern that
reconciles the experimental and non-experimental results is complex, suggesting that common
assumptions about the direction of bias in non-experimental estimates may be incorrect.

Year of Publication
2004
Number
493
Date Published
08/2004
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
7845
Liebman, J., Katz, L., & Kling, J. (2004). Beyond Treatment Effects: Estimating the Relationship Between Neighborhood Poverty and Individual Outcomes in the MTO Experiment. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01g158bh29k (Original work published 08/2004AD)
Working Papers
Abstract

The Moving to Opportunity (MTO) experiment offered over 4,000 public housing
residents in five U.S. cities the opportunity to move to very low poverty neighborhoods. Results
from a survey conducted four to seven years after random assignment showed that boys in the
experimental group fared no better or worse on measures of risk behavior than their controlgroup
counterparts, while girls in the experimental group demonstrated better mental health and
lower risk behavior relative to control group girls. We seek to understand these differences by
analyzing data from the survey and from in-depth interviews conducted with a random
subsample of 86 teens 14 to 19 years old in Baltimore and Chicago. We find that control group
boys, especially in Baltimore, deployed conscious strategies for avoiding neighborhood trouble,
in contrast to many experimental boys who had subsequently moved back to higher poverty
neighborhoods. Second, experimental group girls’ patterns of activity fit in more easily in lowpoverty
neighborhoods than boys’, whose routines tended to draw negative reactions from
community members and agents of social control. Third, experimental boys were far less likely
to have strong connections to non-biological father figures than controls, which may have
contributed to behavioral and mental health problems.

Year of Publication
2006
Number
509
Date Published
03/2006
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
8094
Clampet-Lundquist, S., Edin, K., Kling, J., & Duncan, G. (2006). Moving At-Risk Teenagers Out of High-Risk Neighborhoods: Why Girls Fare Better Than Boys. Retrieved from http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp019306sz29r (Original work published 03/2006AD)
Working Papers