University of Wisconsin–Madison
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Housing Voucher Receipt and the Quality of Schools Available to Recipient Children

Using data on housing voucher recipients with school-aged children residing across the state of Wisconsin, we perform a three-stage analysis of the relationship between voucher receipt and the educational opportunities of children in recipient households. First, we examine the extent to which voucher receipt results in households relocating to a different school district. Second, we estimate the effect of voucher receipt on the quality of the school district—as measured by average standardized test scores in the district—in which recipient households reside. Finally, for the subset of recipient households residing in the Madison Metropolitan School District, we estimate the effect of voucher receipt on the quality of the specific school attendance zone—again measured by average standardized test scores—in which recipient households live. Our results indicate that voucher receipt initially induces cross-boundary relocation for households with children, but provides greater stability in subsequent years; there is some evidence that these moves result in voucher recipients residing in areas with access to higher quality public schools, particularly in urban areas. We discuss the implications of these findings for research and policy.


Education & Training, Housing, Housing Assistance, K-12 Education, Place, Place General