Works in Progress

“Grocery Stores Raise Property Values: Evidence from FRESH”
(Job Market Paper; current version)

Abstract: The effect of grocery stores on property values is difficult to establish because of the endogeneity between where people choose to live and where grocery stores choose to operate. This paper uses the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program in New York City to establish that grocery stores are local amenities. On average, a non-commercial property located in a FRESH area experiences a 2.07% increase in value. An exploration of mechanisms indicates that opening more grocery stores not only directly contributes to the increase in property values by improving local amenities, but it also engenders the establishment of complementary businesses such as restaurants, thereby leading to a further increase in property values through an indirect improvement on local amenities.

“Housing Vouchers Reduce Residential Crowding”
(Journal of Housing Economics, 2022)

Abstract: Prior research shows that expanding the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program has varying price effects on different parts of the rental housing market. While recipients will certainly benefit from the added vouchers, there is ambiguity in the impacts on quality of life for non-recipients in the broader housing market. Excessive crowding in homes, dubbed overcrowding, is one measure of quality of life because overcrowding can lead to adverse outcomes such as stunted child development, adverse mental health, and an increased risk in spreading infectious diseases such as COVID-19. This paper makes use of an exogenous increase in the supply of Section 8 housing vouchers in a panel setting to ascertain the effectiveness of a program provided at the federal level in tackling housing overcrowding throughout the nation. Estimation of a linear probability model shows that adding vouchers reduces the incidence of overcrowding: a 10% increase in the supply of vouchers reduces the likelihood that a housing unit is overcrowded by 0.081 percentage points. The mechanism behind the effect is shown to correspond with anecdotes about overcrowding: households experiencing misfortune, financial difficulties, or other tenuous circumstances double-up with higher-income households. Hence, a voucher enables the troubled household to move into more suitable living arrangements.