@HUDgov published 20-year RCT results for Jobs Plus, providing public housing residents with employment services along with financial incentives & supports for work. My quick take: No impact on earnings & employment for the full 6-site sample, & the reported positive impacts at 3 sites aren't reliable.

Program:

  • HUD's Jobs Plus demonstration, over 1998-2003, provided public housing residents with employment-related services at onsite job centers, rent-based work incentives allowing residents to keep more of their earnings, & activities to promote neighbor-to-neighbor support for work.

Study Design & Earlier Findings:

  • The study randomized 15 housing developments at 6 US sites to treatment vs control.

  • An earlier, 6-year follow-up found small earnings impacts for the full sample & more sizable impacts at the 3 best-implementing sites. (The latter is a post-hoc subgroup analysis, so is only suggestive.)

New Findings:

  • In years 20-21 after program launch, no impact on adults' employment & earnings for the full 6-site sample. At the 3 best-implementing sites, the study reports statistically significant (or near significant) impacts on earnings (11%) and employment (4% points).

  • But, as the report notes, these findings of statistical significance are based on an incorrect analysis of the data as if the study had *individually* randomized 4,105 adults at the 3 sites (whereas it was a cluster RCT that randomized 7 housing developments at these sites).

  • When analyzed correctly as a cluster RCT in a study appendix, these effects weren't close to statistical significance (2-sided p=0.50 for earnings & p=0.34 for employment) - so are only suggestive (not reliable) as they could well be due to chance.

  • The study report notes this limitation and describes the findings as "somewhat suggestive."

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