Most housing voucher recipients live in low-quality neighborhoods. We study how changes in voucher generosity affect neighborhood poverty, unit quality and rents using administrative data. We examine a policy making vouchers more generous across a metro area. This policy had no impact on neighborhood poverty, little impact on observed quality, and increased rents. A second policy, which indexed rent ceilings to neighborhood rents, led voucher recipients to move to higher quality neighborhoods with lower crime, poverty and unemployment. These results are consistent with a model where the first policy acts as an income effect and the second as a substitution effect.
Revised and Resubmitted