Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation
Chicago Skyline
Main content start

Our mission is to identify mechanisms and policies that create thriving neighborhoods and cities, and improve the lives of all residents.

The Cities, Housing, and Society Lab will investigate how geographic place, labor markets, and public policy influence households’ economic lives and inequality. The lab will bring together a diverse set of collaborators across academia, industry, and government.

We combine public and private sector administrative data with statistical and economic tools to improve the productivity and quality of life across all types of communities and their residents. A key focus will be to develop a community of multidisciplinary researchers and students to foster idea exchange and support research in these areas.

Strategy and Research

The lab will bring many unique data sources from both the public and private sector to tackle key policy issues facing cities today. Topics we study include affordable housing policy, place-based policies, spatial inequality, local public finance, and local labor economics.

Our analysis combines program evaluation and reduced form techniques with structural modeling and estimation. This dual-pronged approach allows us to harness credible and transparent research designs to answer complex questions, such as equilibrium impacts of government policies and distributional effects across many different types of cities and households.

Featured Research

The Effects of Rent Control Expansion on Tenants, Landlords, and Inequality: Evidence from San Francisco

Using a 1994 law change, we exploit quasi-experimental variation in the assignment of rent control in San Francisco to study its impacts on tenants and landlords. Leveraging new data tracking individuals' migration, we nd rent control limits renters' mobility by 20% and lowers displacement from San Francisco. Landlords treated by rent control reduce rental housing supplies by 15% by selling to owner-occupants and redeveloping buildings. Thus, while rent control prevents displacement of incumbent renters in the short run, the lost rental housing supply likely drove up market rents in the long run, ultimately undermining the goals of the law.

Chart of San Francisco

Browse Our Research

Browse our publications and working papers in housing policy, spatial inequality, and city and neighborhood effects.

Students in Arbuckle Dining Pavillion

Learn About Our Student Research Group

The Cities, Housing, and Society Research Group is a monthly workshop for graduate students interested in topics related to urban and housing economics.