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The Eviction Lab

September 1, 2021

Today, the majority of poor renting families in America spend over half of their income on housing costs, and eviction is transforming their lives. Yet little is known about the prevalence, causes, and consequences of housing insecurity.The Eviction Lab is a team of researchers, students, and website architects who believe that a stable, affordable home is central to human flourishing and economic mobility. Accordingly, understanding the sudden, traumatic loss of home through eviction is foundational to understanding poverty in America.Drawing on tens of millions of records, the Eviction Lab at Princeton University has published the first ever dataset of evictions in America, going back to 2000. Eviction Lab interactive tools enable discovery of new facts about how eviction is shaping communities and are meant to raise awareness and facilitate new solutions.

Household Response to Income Changes: Evidence from anUnconditional Cash Transfer Program in Kenya

November 15, 2013

This paper studies the response of poor rural households in rural Kenya to large temporary income changes. Using a randomized controlled trial, households were randomly assigned to receive unconditional cash transfers of at least USD 404 from the NGO GiveDirectly . We designed the experiment to address several long-standing questions in the economics literature: what is the shape of households? Engel curves? Do household members effectively pool income? Are there constraints to savings? Do transfers generate externalities? In addition, we study in detail the effects of transfers on psychological well-being and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. We randomized at both the village and household levels; further, within the treatment group, we randomized recipient gender (wife vs. husband), transfer timing (lump-sum transfer vs. monthly installments over 9 months), and transfer magnitude (USD 404 vs. USD 1,520). We find a strong consumption response to transfers, with an increase in monthly consumption from USD 157 to USD 194 four months after the transfer ended. Implied expenditure elasticities for food, medical and education expenditures range between 0.84 and 1.47, while the point estimates are negative for alcohol and tobacco. Intriguingly, recipient gender does not affect the household response to the program. Households may face savings constraints: monthly transfers are more likely than lump-sum transfers to improve food security, while lump-sum transfers are more likely to be spent on durables. We find no evidence for externalities on non-recipients except for a significant positive spillover on female empowerment. Transfer recipients experience large increases in psychological well-being, and several types of transfers lead to reductions in levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Together, these results suggest that unconditional cash transfers have significant impacts on consumption and psychological well-being.

A Concept for a Personal Rapid Transit System in the State of New Jersey

February 11, 2008

This fall, Professor Alain Kornhauser led Princeton University's ORF 467 Transportation class to an in-depth analysis of the feasibility of a PRT network for the state of New Jersey. The goal of this network was to cover approximately 95% of the trip productions and attractions in the State, while providing benefits to the user somewhat comparable to the personal automobile. Students were paired and assigned to one, two, or three counties based on the size and perceived complexity of the counties. Students then researched the county, looking for major points of interest. Concurrently, several students were commissioned with the task of building software tools to help generate and manipulate the network. These students began working with Google Maps to create an interface to enter, update, and delete data about a PRT network and Google Earth to conveniently show the static results of the project. These tools dramatically contributed to the success of this project and would serve as excellent tools to do some degree of network optimization.One focus of this project was to begin to generate numbers about trip productions and attractions for points of interest in the state of New Jersey. In order to develop a transportation network, one must have a good idea of how and where it will be used. At each station location, understanding what the productions and attractions were enables a far deeper analysis of how a PRT system could be used. Our software tools enabled us to type our stations based on the kind of production or attraction found at the station location.