Racial Inequality, Neighborhood Effects, and Moving to Opportunity
Economic Commentary, 2019, issue October
Moving to Opportunity (MTO) was a housing mobility program designed to investigate neighborhood effects, the influences of the social and physical environment on human development and well-being. Some of the results from MTO have been interpreted as evidence that neighborhood effects are not as strong as earlier evidence had indicated. This Commentary discusses new research suggesting that neighborhood effects are, on the contrary, as strong and policy relevant as suspected before the experiment. This Commentary also discusses why the interpretation of the MTO data is important: If neighborhood effects drive outcomes, then addressing racial inequality requires concerted efforts beyond ending racial discrimination.
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