By Rick Brown
In my thesis I quantify the degree to which evictions affect school enrollment. I exploit heterogeneity in state-level eviction moratoria implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to estimate the impact of evictions on school enrollment. My preferred specification uses a triple difference-in-differences model that examines enrollment changes in high versus low poverty counties in moratoria versus non-moratoria states. I run this model for all observations and then employ a county border pair design that compares schools that are likely similar in unobservable characteristics (e.g. COVID-19 case-counts, labor markets).
Using the triple difference-in- differences model, I ultimately find that moratoria lead to a statistically significant 2% to 2.4% increase in school enrollment in disadvantaged communities. These results are robust to inclusion of state-by-year fixed effects (state fixed effects year fixed effects). I contrast these main results with a simpler event study design that does not exploit the within-state control group. I argue that these alternative specifications are not likely to provide valid estimates during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the rapidly changing policy environment. In addition to this methodological point, the substantive lesson from this analysis is that eviction policies can directly affect the educational attainment of children.