Ingrid Gould Ellen: Do Housing Vouchers Improve Academic Performance? Evidence from New York City

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Ingrid Gould Ellen is the Paulette Goddard Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at New York University's (NYU) Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and faculty director of the NYU Furman Center. Her research centers on neighborhoods, housing, and residential segregation. Ellen is the author of Sharing America's Neighborhoods: The Prospects for Stable Racial Integration (Harvard University Press, 2000) and editor of How to House the Homeless (Russell Sage Foundation, 2010) and has published articles in journals such as the Journal of Urban Economics, the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, the Journal of the American Planning Association, and Housing Policy Debate. Ellen teaches classes in microeconomics, urban economics, and urban policy research. Before coming to NYU, Ellen held visiting positions at the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution. She attended Harvard University, where she received a bachelor's degree in applied mathematics, an M.P.P., and a Ph.D. in public policy.


At a cost of roughly $18 billion in 2016, the Housing Choice Voucher program is the largest federally funded housing assistance program. Despite the large scope of the program, evidence about the effects of vouchers on the educational outcome of children remains fairly limited. Ellen's work adds to the literature by estimating the short-term impact of vouchers on the performance of students in New York City public schools. Her results suggest that students in voucher households perform better in both reading and math in the years they receive a voucher, and that impacts for students who move and those who lease in place are statistically indistinguishable, suggesting that the stability and additional disposable income that vouchers provide play a large role in explaining the results.

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