November 2014

IZA DP No. 8629: Public Housing Magnets: Public Housing Supply and Immigrants' Location Choices

published in: Journal of Economic Geography, 2016, 16 (1), 237-265

This paper investigates how a reform allowing immigrants with children in France access to public housing during the 1970s influenced their initial location choices across local labour markets. We find that cities with higher public housing supplies have a large 'magnetic effect' on the location choice. The estimated effect is substantial and quantitatively similar to the effect of the size of the ethnic group in the urban area. In cities with higher public housing supply, these immigrants tend to benefit from better housing conditions, but non-European immigrants are also more likely to be unemployed.