Factors influencing the labor force participation of low-income adults on public housing assistance
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This Paper analyzes the factors influencing the labor force participation of low-income adults on public housing assistance. A quasi-experiment is designed to fulfill the purpose of measuring the magnitudes of certain attributes of given individuals, e.g. the age in influencing employment status while controlling other factors such as other personal attributes and living environments. A number of logistic regressions are performed to assist the empirical analysis. Two final models are presented while statistical results are diagnosed to ensure the reliability of findings. Based on the unique data provided by AHA (the Atlanta Housing Authority), over 70 variables are analyzed to determine their significance on influencing individuals¡¯ future employment status. Finally, we find five the most significant predictors to be the individual¡¯s current employment status, age, and income, whether one resides in a mixed-income community in comparison to living in a housing project, and whether one uses housing vouchers in comparison to living in a housing project. The individual¡¯s immediate living environment is found to play an extremely important role in shaping his/her future employment status. The results demonstrate that living in the mixed-income community as opposed to living in conventional public housing projects can boost one¡¯s odds of being employed in the future by 170% while using housing vouchers as opposed to living in traditional public housing can increase one¡¯s odds of being employed by 90%. Both statistics are significant even at the 0.001 level. Hence, our findings strongly support the view that environment matters and distressed public housing projects should be revitalized, which has been a controversial topic over years. This study introduces an innovative index system-that consists of the Family Development Index (FDI), the Neighborhood Development Index (NDI), and the Quality of Life Index (QLI)-developed by Dr. Boston to show the development of low-income adults¡¯ socio-economic status and living environments induced by the revitalization of public housing projects in Atlanta over the period of 1995-2001. Based on this innovative index system, this paper tentatively proposes a reasonable approach to separate the self-selective effect from the environmental effect in influencing the labor force participation, which has long been reckoned as a complex task in social science research. We create the Self-distinguishing Index (SDI) based on a similar mechanism by which Dr. Boston created the FDI and NDI and combine it with the FDI to generate the Self-selective Index (SSI). We also modify the NDI to serve our purpose of measuring the environmental changes at the personal level. By this method, we successfully detach the self-selective effect from the environmental effect in determining the individual¡¯s future employment status. Those two effects are found to be significant at the 0.001 level and the 0.01 level respectively. A side-finding that individuals belonging to the treatment group have significantly better odds of being employed in the future is shown as well.