The Policy Adjacent: How Affordable Housing Generates Policy Feedback Among Neighboring Residents

03.05.2022 - 15:30 to 17:00
Location : 
Online via Zoom
Type of Event : 
AB A-Kolloquium
Prof. Melissa Sands, Ph.D.
Lecturer affiliation: 
London School of Economics

Anyone wishing to join the colloquium and who does not already have the necessary link can request the link by emailing colloquia-a [at]

Abstract (with Michael Hankinson and Asya Magazinnik):
While scholars have documented feedback effects among a policy's direct winners and losers, less is known about whether such effects can occur among the indirectly affected --- ``the policy adjacent.'' Using 463 geocoded housing developments built between two nearly identical statewide ballot propositions funding affordable housing in California, we show that policy generates feedback effects among neighboring residents in systematic ways. New, nearby affordable housing causes majority-homeowner blocks to increase their support for the housing bond, while majority-renter blocks decrease their support. We attribute the positive effect among homeowners to the housing's replacement of blight and improvement of property values. The negative effect  among renters is driven by gentrifying neighborhoods. Not receiving an affordable housing unit despite their eligibility, these renters may attribute the new development to further increasing the rising rents around them. In turn, policy implementation can undermine support for expansion even among the policy's intended beneficiaries.