Moving to Opportunity or Isolation – Network Effects of a Slum Relocation Program in India

Moving to Opportunity or Isolation – Network Effects of a Slum Relocation Program in India
Authors: , ,
Series: Housing
Genre: Housing
Publication Year: 2014
Length: 47 pages
A housing lottery in a large Indian city provided 110 out of 497 participants the opportunity to move out of a slum and into improved housing on the city's periphery. Fourteen years after housing assignment, relative to lottery losers, winners report better housing conditions farther from the city center, but no change in family income or human capital. Winners also state increased isolation from family and caste networks and lower access to informal insurance.
About the Book
A housing lottery in a large Indian city provided 110 out of 497 participants the opportunity to move out of a slum and into improved housing on the city’s periphery. Fourteen years after housing assignment, relative to lottery losers, winners report better housing conditions farther from the city center, but no change in family income or human capital. Winners also state increased isolation from family and caste networks and lower access to informal insurance. In particular, they are signi cantly less likely to know someone they can rely on for borrowing needs and report fewer informal transfers in the event of shocks. We also observe signi cant program exit: 34% of winners never even moved into the assigned housing and 32% eventually exited the colony to be closer to family and the city center. Our results suggest that the bene ts of improved suburban housing were o set by its drawbacks in the form of destruction of social capital, pointing to the importance of considering social networks when designing housing programs for the poor.
The authors are from the Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad, Duke University, and Harvard University. For nancial and eld support, we thank the National Science Foundation (grant SES-0752792), The US Department of Labor ILAB (DOL ILAB), the Centre for Micro nance (CMF) at IFMR, the Mossavar- Rahmani Center for Business and Government, the Real Estate Academic Initiative at Harvard University and the Exxon Mobil Foundation under the Closing the Global Gender Gap Initiative in Economic Participation (hosted by the Women and Public Policy Program at Harvard University). We thank Susanna Berkouwer, Sarah Bishop, Manasee Desai, Janaki Kibe, Keshubhai, Marie-Pascale Grimon, Vanya Pasheva, and Divya Varma for excellent research assistance, Avdhut Fadanwis and Sachin Srivastava for data management, and DOL ILAB sta for detailed comments on an earlier draft. All errors are our own.
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