Jeffrey Kling

First name
Last name

An instrumental variable can be used to identify the labor market return to schooling by
allowing comparisons between groups of individuals whose differences in schooling levels are
uncorrelated with their underlying marginal benefit from schooling and with other aspects of
unobserved ability. When the education decisions are based on individual-specific marginal
benefits and costs, there is no single rate of return for everyone in the population. This paper
demonstrates economic insights from methods interpreting instrumental variables estimates as
weighted averages of individual-specific causal effects of schooling on wages by synthesizing
existing theoretical and econometric work, and by using geographic variation in college
proximity as an example of an instrumental variable.
Characterizing the groups affected by the college proximity instrument, I find the largest
increase in schooling levels among individuals from more disadvantaged backgrounds.
Although the data is insufficient to obtain useful estimates of group-specific rates of return, I
directly compute the weight each group receives in the overall estimate. In analyzing the
response function and showing the level of schooling at which individuals change their behavior
in response to the instrument, I demonstrate that the instrument has the greatest impact on the
transition from high school to college. This corresponds to the economic intuition that changes
in the marginal cost of college should be concentrated at this transition and should not affect all
levels of schooling equally. The results suggest that disadvantaged groups are most responsive
to policies lowering college costs, and that increases in education for these groups may have high

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, Volume 19, No. 3, July 2001
Krueger, A., Farber, H., & Kling, J. (1999). Interpreting Instrumental Variables Estimates of the Returns to Schooling. Retrieved from (Original work published January 1999)
Working Papers

Rapid growth in the incarceration rate over the last two decades has made prison time a
routine event in the life course of young economically disadvantaged, black and Hispanic men.
Although incarceration may now have large effects on economic inequality, only a few studies
systematically examine the labor market experiences of ex-offenders. We review the
mechanisms that plausibly link incarceration to employment and earnings and discuss the
challenges of causal inference for a highly self-selected sample of criminal offenders. There is
little consensus about the labor market effects of a variety of justice system sanctions, but there
is consistent evidence for the negative effects of prison time on earnings, particularly among
older or white-collar offenders. The labor market effects of incarceration are not yet well
understood, but prior research suggests several promising avenues for future work.

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Reprinted in Crime and Delinquency, Volume 47, No. 3, July 2001.
Western, B., Weiman, D., & Kling, J. (2001). The Labor Market Consequences of Incarceration. Retrieved from (Original work published January 2001)
Working Papers

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
Date Published
Publication Language
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 (Original work published June 2000)
Working Papers

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
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
Kling, J. (2004). Incarceration Length, Employment, and Earnings. Retrieved from (Original work published August 2004)
Working Papers

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

Year of Publication
Date Published
Publication Language
Citation Key
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 (Original work published March 2006)
Working Papers