Seminar: Does eviction cause poverty? Quasi-experimental evidence from Cook County, IL
On Thursday December 19th 2019, Winnie van Dijk (University of Chicago) will give a presentation titled: 'Does eviction cause poverty? Quasi-experimental evidence from Cook County, IL'
In Cook County, IL, more than 32,000 eviction cases appear before the circuit court every year, the majority involving tenants from the poorest areas in Chicago. Influential research, based on high-quality surveys and ethnographic work, suggests that eviction may not only be a symptom of poverty but may, in fact, cause or exacerbate poverty by contributing to circumstances that are adverse to economic mobility. Yet households facing eviction are likely to have recently faced negative economic shocks, which makes establishing the proposed causal relationship difficult. This paper proposes a quasi-experimental design for evaluating the causal impact of eviction on employment, earnings, public assistance receipt, financial distress, and children's schooling outcomes. Using over 700,000 eviction case histories, our research design leverages Cook County's random assignment of eviction court cases to judges, where some judges are more lenient than others. This provides a source of exogenous variation, allowing us to study the effect of eviction on a wide range of short- and long-run household outcomes associated with poverty.