The Economics of Evictions
Faculty Supervisor(s):

John Eric Humphries

Project Description:

Each year more than two million U.S. households have an eviction case filed against them. For example, in Cook County, IL, more than 35,000 eviction cases appear before the circuit court every year, the majority involving tenants from the poorest areas in Chicago. Prior research 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 those facing eviction are likely to have recently faced negative economic shocks, which makes establishing the proposed causal relationship difficult.

I am seeking a full-time pre-doc to help in an on-going research agenda aimed at understanding the impacts of evictions on tenants, and eviction regulations on the rental market. As part of this work, we are evaluating the causal impacts of eviction on tenants’ earnings, housing stability, financial health, and homelessness. In a supporting project, we are evaluating the impacts of eviction on students’ educational outcomes.

In a second part of this agenda, we are working on a project to evaluate how eviction regulation and broader housing market regulation affect the number of people evicted each year, as well as other fundamentals of the housing market, such as price, the supply of units, and screening behaviors.

In a third part of the agenda, we aim to evaluate policies designed to help smooth over housing shocks and thus divert eviction cases from being filed.

The pre-doc hired for this position would work closely with my co-authors and me and be involved in all parts of the research process. As part of this position, the pre-doc would have the opportunity to develop a broad array of research-related skills. The pre-doc would work with administrative records, work on the preparation and analysis, help us understand institutional details, and help write manuscripts. The pre-doc would also help in the new expansion of the project evaluating the impacts of eviction reform on rental markets and the residential mobility of low-income residents in urban settings, and the role of credit constraints in the evictions process.

Requisite Skills and Qualifications:

We are looking for candidates that are excited about getting started with research, working with big data sets, and broadly studying housing instability. Methodological interests in labor economics, public economics, urban economics, econometrics, machine learning, or statistics are also a big plus.

Applicants should be completing or have completed a bachelor’s or master’s degree. A major in economics is not required but an interest in economics as well as coursework in economics and econometrics is. The ideal candidate will have a strong interest in economics, will be detail-orientated, will enjoy working with data and will be enthusiastic about problem-solving. Prior coding experience in a statistical language (especially R and Stata) is essential. Prior experience with Latex, Julia, python, and other programming languages is also a plus.

Special Application Instructions: