The Effects of Low-Income Housing Development on School Segregation
Elise Dizon-Ross

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

Award Year



Stanford University

Primary Discipline

The growing shortage of affordable housing throughout the U.S. has drawn increased scrutiny toward housing policy and in particular, the federal government's primary tool for incentivizing low-income housing development, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). In my dissertation, I consider the underexplored question of how the LIHTC program, which has helped fund nearly 3 million rental units since 1987, has affected schools. Specifically, I examine the impact of LIHTC-funded housing projects on the racial and socioeconomic composition of nearby public schools in metropolitan areas nationwide. Economic and sociological theory suggest that there are multiple potential hypotheses regarding the housing projects' effects. One hypothesis is that such development could cause increased racial segregation and concentrated disadvantage, while another hypothesis suggests that LIHTC development could actually be a tool for increasing school diversity. To assess which theoretical outcome applies, I estimate the causal effects of low-income housing on the composition of neighborhood schools using a regression discontinuity design that leverages a discontinuity in the tax incentive structure, resulting in quasi-random variation in where LIHTC housing was built. My research will contribute to the existing literature on the effects of affordable housing programs, as well as build upon prior research on the drivers of school segregation and de-segregation and their relationship to patterns of residential location.
About Elise Dizon-Ross
Elise Dizon-Ross is a Ph.D. candidate in Economics of Education at the Stanford Graduate School of Education. She is a member of the Center for Educational Policy Analysis at Stanford, as well as an IES Fellow and a recipient of the Stanford Graduate Fellowship. Her research uses quantitative methods to study the impacts of economic inequality and educational and social policies on student outcomes and on the education sector more broadly. She is particularly interested in examining the intersection of local economic inequality and gaps in educational opportunities for disadvantaged communities. Her current projects investigate the effects of housing and regional affordability on students, teachers, and schools. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, Elise worked with multiple nonprofit and public sector organizations to increase educational opportunities for students, focusing on areas such as chronic absenteeism, out-of-school-time learning, and the implementation of transitional kindergarten. She holds an M.A. and a B.A. in Economics from Stanford University, and an M.P.P. from the Goldman School of Public Policy at U.C. Berkeley.

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