Jens Ludwig

Jens Ludwig
University of Chicago | UC · Urban Policy Initiatives

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112
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Introduction
Skills and Expertise

Publications

Publications (112)
Article
Although nonexperimental studies find robust neighborhood effects on adults, such findings have been challenged by results from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) residential mobility experiment. Using a within-study comparison design, this article compares experimental and nonexperimental estimates from MTO and a parallel analysis of the Panel Study...
Article
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To the Editor In the Original Investigation entitled “Associations of Housing Mobility Interventions for Children in High-Poverty Neighborhoods With Subsequent Mental Disorders During Adolescence” published in the March 5, 2014, issue of JAMA,¹ we inadvertently reported incorrect confidence intervals and a P value in 2 tables. This study explored t...
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African-American Vernacular English (AAVE) is systematic, rooted in history, and important as an identity marker and expressive resource for its speakers. In these respects, it resembles other vernacular or nonstandard varieties, like Cockney or Appalachian English. But like them, AAVE can trigger discrimination in the workplace, housing market, an...
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Objectives While the economic model of crime suggests that improving post-prison labor market prospects should reduce recidivism, evaluations of previous employment-oriented re-entry programs have mixed results, possibly due to the multi-faceted challenges facing prisoners at the time of their release. We present an evaluation of an experiment tha...
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This paper examines the causal effects of housing vouchers on children's outcomes using data from a randomized housing-voucher wait-list lottery conducted in Chicago in 1997. Unlike with MTO, where the offer of a voucher to families in public housing lead to large changes in neighborhood environments, our families are all in private-market housing...
Article
Youth in high-poverty neighborhoods have high rates of emotional problems. Understanding neighborhood influences on mental health is crucial for designing neighborhood-level interventions. To perform an exploratory analysis of associations between housing mobility interventions for children in high-poverty neighborhoods and subsequent mental disord...
Article
One long-standing motivation for low-income housing programs is the possibility that housing affordability and housing conditions generate externalities, including on children’s behavior and long-term life outcomes. We take advantage of a randomized housing voucher lottery in Chicago in 1997 to examine the long-term impact of housing assistance on...
Conference Paper
Nearly every gun used in a crime was legally manufactured and initially sold by a licensed firearm dealer. Yet almost no individuals incarcerated for gun crimes obtained their gun directly from a licensed dealer. Firearm regulations and enforcement strategies are intended to disrupt the distribution chains that supply guns to criminals, but remarka...
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Using data from a randomized experiment, to examine whether moving youth out of areas of concentrated poverty, where a disproportionate amount of crime occurs, prevents involvement in crime. We draw on new administrative data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Moving to Opportunity (MTO) experiment. MTO families were random...
Article
Improving the long-term life outcomes of disadvantaged youth remains a top policy priority in the United States, although identifying successful interventions for adolescents – particularly males – has proven challenging. This paper reports results from a large randomized controlled trial of an intervention for disadvantaged male youth grades 7-10...
Conference Paper
Common criteria used to identify crime-control interventions as “model programs” include the requirement that they be subject to one or more randomized clinical trials, and produce beneficial and sustained impacts on youth violence. Practitioners often apply an additional test of whether the size of any intervention impacts are large enough to be “...
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We examine long-term neighborhood effects on low-income families using data from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) randomized housing-mobility experiment, which offered some public-housing families but not others the chance to move to less-disadvantaged neighborhoods. We show that 10-15 years after baseline MTO improves adult physical and mental heal...
Article
In this paper we estimate the causal effects on child mortality from moving into less distressed neighborhood environments. We match mortality data covering the period from 1997 to 2009 with information on every child in public housing that applied for a housing voucher in Chicago in 1997 (N=11,680). Families were randomly assigned to the voucher w...
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Full-text available
Nearly 9 million Americans live in extreme-poverty neighborhoods, places that also tend to be racially segregated and dangerous. Yet, the effects on the well-being of residents of moving out of such communities into less distressed areas remain uncertain. Using data from Moving to Opportunity, a unique randomized housing mobility experiment, we fou...
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Objectives Using the case of an on-going work-oriented prisoner-reentry experiment in Milwaukee, describe the challenges of organizing and sustaining a high-quality trial in the field in which only the randomization and data analysis are directly “controlled” by the evaluation team. Methods The case study is of a randomized experiment involving yo...
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Full-text available
Adults living in high-poverty neighborhoods often fare worse than adults in more advantaged neighborhoods on their physical health, mental health, and economic well-being. Although social scientists have observed this association for hundreds of years, they have found it difficult to determine the extent to which the neighborhoods themselves affect...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence about the effects of neighborhood environments on children and youth is central to the design of a wide range of public policies. Armed with long-term survey data from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) for Fair Housing demonstration final impacts evaluation (Sanbonmatsu et al, 2011), we have the opportunity to understand whether neighborhood...
Article
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The question of whether neighborhood environment contributes directly to the development of obesity and diabetes remains unresolved. The study reported on here uses data from a social experiment to assess the association of randomly assigned variation in neighborhood conditions with obesity and diabetes. From 1994 through 1998, the Department of Ho...
Article
Head Start is a federal early childhood intervention designed to reduce disparities in preschool outcomes. The first randomized experimental study of Head Start, the National Head Start Impact Study (NHSIS), found impacts on academic outcomes of .15 to .3 standard deviations measured at the end of the program year, although the estimated impacts we...
Article
Randomized controlled trials are increasingly used to evaluate policies. How can we make these experiments as useful as possible for policy purposes? We argue greater use should be made of experiments that identify the behavioral mechanisms that are central to clearly specified policy questions, what we call "mechanism experiments." These types of...
Article
participants in the 2009 NBER Summer Institute pre-conference and January 2010 NBER research conference in Berkeley for helpful comments. All opinions and any errors are of course our own. -2 -ABSTRACT Individual poverty and its geographic concentration have long been considered potential "root causes" of crime. This chapter considers whether polic...
Article
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Article
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One of the most striking features of crime in America is its disproportionate concentration in disadvantaged, racially segregated communities, which has long raised concern that segregation itself may contribute to criminal behavior. Yet little is known about whether government efforts to reduce segregation can reduce crime. We address this questio...
Article
What will happen after Heller? We know that the Supreme Court will no longer tolerate comprehensive federal prohibitions on home handgun possession by some class of trustworthy homeowners for the purpose of, and perhaps only at the time of, self-defense. But the judiciary could push further, if nothing else by incorporating Heller's holding into th...
Article
This review paper, prepared for the forthcoming Russell Sage volume Changing Poverty, considers the ability of different education policies to improve the learning outcomes of low-income children in America. Disagreements on this question stem in part from different beliefs about the problems with our nation's public schools. In our view there is s...
Article
Full-text available
A vast and often confusing economics literature relates competition to investment in innovation. Following Joseph Schumpeter, one view is that monopoly and large scale promote investment in research and development by allowing a firm to capture a larger fraction of its benefits and by providing a more stable platform for a firm to invest in R&D. Ot...
Article
Full-text available
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 eff...
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This paper attempts to estimate the aggregate annual costs of child poverty to the US economy. It begins with a review of rigorous research studies that estimate the statistical association between children growing up in poverty and their earnings, propensity to commit crime, and quality of health later in life. We also review estimates of the cost...
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The research reported here was supported by small grants to Marcotte and Ludwig from UMBC and the Georgetown University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Norberg was supported with funding from NIH grant 5K08MH001809, and the Center for Health Policy at Washington University. None of the authors have received funding from pharmaceutical compani...
Article
A growing body of research suggests that the first few years of life are a particularly promising time to intervene in the lives of low-income children, although the long-term effects on children of the U.S. government's primary early childhood program--Head Start--remains the topic of debate. In this article we review what is known about Head Star...
Article
This study estimates the effects of means-tested housing programs on labor supply using data from a randomized housing voucher wait-list lottery in Chicago. Evidence for the net effects of housing programs on labor supply is central to a wide range of policy decisions about how to provide housing assistance to the poor. Economic theory is ambiguous...
Article
The Moving to Opportunity (MTO) Program, undertaken in five metropolitan areas (MSAs) during 1994-1998, has produced the only evidence about the effects of neighborhood conditions on social outcomes which is based upon experimental observation. The results of this experiment provide no support at all for a link between neighborhood conditions and t...
Article
This article provides an economic analysis of underground gun markets, drawing on interviews with gang members, gun dealers, professional thieves, prostitutes, police, public school security guards and teenagers in the city of Chicago, complemented by results from government surveys of recent arrestees in 22 cities, plus administrative data for sui...
Article
This essay provides an economist’s perspective on criminological research into incapacitation effects on crime. Our central argument is that criminologists would do well to substantially scale back the enterprise of trying to estimate the various behavioral parameters central to a micro-level approach to measuring incapacitation effects, including...
Article
In this essay we review what is known about Head Start and argue that the program is likely to generate benefits to participants and society as a whole that are large enough to justify the program's costs. Our conclusions differ importantly from those offered in some previous reviews because we use a more appropriate standard to judge the success o...
Article
The mid-1980s witnessed breaks in two important trends related to race and schooling. School segregation, which had been declining, began a period of relative stasis. Black-white test score gaps, which had also been declining, also stagnated. The notion that these two phenomena may be related is also supported by basic cross-sectional evidence. We...
Article
Suicide takes the lives of around a million people each year, most of whom suffer from depression. In recent years there has been growing controversy about whether one of the best-selling anti-depressants – selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – increases or decreases the risk of completed suicide. Randomized clinical trials are not info...
Article
Understanding whether criminal behavior is “contagious†is important for law enforcement and for policies that affect how people are sorted across social settings. We test the hypothesis that criminal behavior is contagious by using data from the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) randomized housing mobility experiment to examine the extent to which lo...
Article
This paper exploits a new source of variation in Head Start funding to identify the program's effects on health and schooling. In 1965 the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) provided technical assistance to the 300 poorest counties to develop Head Start proposals. The result was a large and lasting discontinuity in Head Start funding rates at the...
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Full-text available
Greg Duncan, Jens Ludwig, and Katherine Magnuson explain how providing high-quality care to disadvantaged preschool children can help reduce poverty. In early childhood, they note, children's cognitive and socioemotional skills develop rapidly and are sensitive to "inputs" from parents, home learning environments, child care settings, and the healt...
Article
The pattern of misdemeanor marijuana arrests in New York City since the introduction of "broken windows" policing in 1994 is remarkable. By the year 2000, arrests on misdemeanor charges of smoking marijuana in public view (MPV) had reached 51,267 for the city, up 2,670 percent from 1,851 arrests in 1994. In 2000, misdemeanor MPV arrests accounted f...
Article
The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
Article
Many U.S. policymakers support changing the "culture" of poor parents to encourage marriage, work, and religion as a means to end the intergenerational transmission of poverty. In this article Jens Ludwig and Susan Mayer review and evaluate research on how parental work, marriage, and religion affect children's socioeconomic status as adults, as we...
Article
A vast and often confusing economics literature relates competition to investment in innovation. Following Joseph Schumpeter, one view is that monopoly and large scale promote investment in research and development by allowing a firm to capture a larger fraction of its benefits and by providing a more stable platform for a firm to invest in R&D. Ot...
Article
Research Summary: Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), which for the past several years has been the major federal initiative to combat gun violence, includes several elements (such as gun locks and other efforts to reduce gun availability) that research suggests are likely to have at best modest effects on gun crime. In general, enforcement activitie...
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Full-text available
Homicide prevention strategies can be either targeted toward high-risk groups or addressed to the population at large. One high-risk group of particular interest is adults with a criminal record. But the prevalence of a criminal record among homicide offenders has not been reliably quantified, nor has the prevalence of criminal record in the genera...
Article
A common practice in the fields of education, mental health, and juvenile justice is to segregate problem youths in groups with deviant peers. Assignments of this sort, which concentrate deviant youths, may facilitate deviant peer influence and lead to perverse outcomes. This possibility adds to the list of arguments in support of "mainstreaming" w...
Article
In 1982, James Q. Wilson and George Kelling suggested in an influential article in the Atlantic Monthly that targeting minor disorder could help reduce more serious crime. More than 20 years later, the three most populous cities in the U.S. - New York, Chicago and, most recently, Los Angeles - have all adopted at least some aspect of Wilson and Kel...
Article
Policymakers are increasingly concerned that a relatively new class of anti-depressant drugs, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI), may increase the risk of suicide for at least some patients, particularly children. Prior randomized trials are not informative on this question because of small sample sizes and other limitations. Using var...
Article
The Moving to Opportunity (MTO) demonstration assigned housing vouchers via random lottery to public housing residents in five cities. We use the exogenous variation in residential locations generated by MTO to estimate neighborhood effects on youth crime and delinquency. The offer to relocate to lower-poverty areas reduces arrests among female you...
Article
Can WIC Affect Preterm Births? The Clinical EvidenceWic EvidenceConclusion AcknowledgmentsReferences
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This paper examines the effects of a randomized housing-voucher program on individual economic outcomes. Public housing residents who are offered relocation counseling together with housing vouchers that can only be redeemed in low-poverty areas experience a reduction in welfare receipt of between 11% and 16% compared to controls. These effects are...
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We review the evidence pertinent to judging the effectiveness of policies to reduce the use of firearms in crime. One goal is to correct popular misconceptions based on such sources as bumper-strip slogans ("Guns don't kill people, people kill people") and Michael Moore's documentary Bowling for Columbine. A second goal is to describe an evidence-b...
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Estimates of developmental models of processes involving contextual influences (e.g., child care arrangements, divorce, parenting, neighborhood location, peers) are subject to bias if, as is often the case, the contexts are influenced by the actions of ei-ther the individuals being studied or their parents or teachers. We assessed the nature of the...
Article
Previous research suggests that American adolescents usually have ready access to guns, and that the extent of misuse of guns by adolescents is not much affected by local gun prevalence or regulation. This “futility” claim is based on one interpretation of survey data from several cities, but has not been tested directly. Here we do so using microd...
Article
The paper focuses on satisfaction with income and proposes a utility model built on two value systems, the `Ego' system - described as one own income assessment relatively to one own past and future income - and the `Alter' system - described as one own income assessment relatively to a reference group. We show how the union of these two value syst...
Article
This paper exploits a new source of variation in Head Start funding to identify the program's long-term effects. In 1965 the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) provided technical assistance to the 300 poorest counties in the U.S. to develop Head Start funding proposals, but did not provide similar assistance to other counties. We show that the re...
Article
This paper reexamines data from the New York City school choice program, the largest and best implemented private school scholarship experiment yet conducted. In the experiment, low-income public school students in grades K-4 were eligible to participate in a series of lotteries for a private school scholarship in May 1997. Data were collected from...
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Full-text available
Gun violence imposes significant costs on children, families, and American society as a whole. But these costs can be difficult to quantify, as much of the burden of gun violence results from intangible concerns about injury and death. This article explores several methods for estimating the costs of gun violence. One method is to assess how much A...
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The proposition that widespread gun ownership serves as a deterrent to residential burglary is widely touted by advocates, but the evidence is weak, consisting of anecdotes, interviews with burglars, casual comparisons with other countries, and the like. A more systematic exploration requires data on local rates of gun ownership and of residential...
Article
By enabling low-income families to move from high- to low-poverty neighbourhoods, tenant-based rental subsidies for poor families have the potential to reduce the degree of economic segregation in the US. This paper provides a framework for identifying the benefits and costs of such housing mobility programmes, and reviews the available empirical e...
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Full-text available
This paper uses data from a randomized housing-mobility experiment to study the effects of relocating families from high- to low-poverty neighborhoods on juvenile crime. Outcome measures come from juvenile arrest records taken from government administrative data. Our findings seem to suggest that providing families with the opportunity to move to l...
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This article presents an estimate of the benefits of reducing crime using the contingent-valuation (CV) method. We focus on gun violence, a crime of growing policy concern in America. Our data come from a national survey in which we ask respondents referendum-type questions that elicit their willingness-to-pay (WTP) to reduce gun violence by 30 per...
Article
between 1970 and 1990, the number of people in the United States liv- ing in high-poverty census tracts (with poverty rates of 40 percent or more) nearly doubled, from 4.1 to 8.0 million. Children who live in poor urban neighborhoods are disproportionately likely to be members of racial and eth- nic minority groups and are also at greater risk for...
Article
This paper examines the effects of private schooling on adolescent non-market behaviors. We control for differences between private and public school students by making use of the rich set of covariates available with our NELS micro-dataset. We also employ an instrumental-variables strategy that exploits variation across metropolitan areas in the c...
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This paper provides one of the first detailed analyses of the training and finances of school-to-work (STW) programs in the United States. The data are from case studies of seven STW programs sponsored by firms of diverse size, type, and location. In almost every case, the firm paid at least some of the costs of general training. Most firms recoup...
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Full-text available
This paper uses data from a randomized housing-mobility experiment to study the effects on juvenile crime of relocating families from high- to low-poverty neighborhoods. Since 1994, the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Moving to Opportunity (MTO) experiment has assigned families from high-poverty Baltimore neighborhoods into three diff...
Article
Whether additional school spending translates to overall improved student learning remains unclear. One explanation for the mixed findings in the literature is the possibility that studies confound the effects of school resources with those of unobserved variables. We show that commonly used "value-added" models are misspecified when estimated usin...
Article
This article provides an overview of an experimental residential relocation program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development known as Moving to Opportunity (MTO), currently in operation in five U.S. cities: Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Because families are randomly assigned to three groups, each of...
Article
The paper focuses on satisfaction with income and proposes a utility model built on two value systems, the `Ego' system - described as one own income assessment relatively to one own past and future income - and the `Alter' system - described as one own income assessment relatively to a reference group. We show how the union of these two value syst...