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Awarded Research Grant to Prevent Violence and Violence-Related Injury

Long-Term Effects of the Moving-to-Opportunity Experiment on Youth Violence

FOA Number: CE06-004: Grants for Violence-Related Injury Prevention Research
Project Period: 9/1/2006 – 8/31/2009
Application/Grant Number: 1-R49-CE000906-01
Principal Investigator: Ludwig, Jens
Georgetown University
3520 Prospect Street, NW - Suite 426
Georgetown Public Policy Institute
Washington, DC 20007


Importance: Youth violence varies dramatically across neighborhoods in the U.S. These patterns highlight the potential value of "place-based" interventions to prevent youth violence.

Objectives: We propose to evaluate one notable place-based intervention: The Moving to Opportunity (MTO) randomized housing-mobility experiment, which randomly assigns some public housing families but not others the chance to relocate to less disadvantaged and dangerous neighborhoods. We seek to understand the intervention's long-term effects on youth violence perpetration and victimization (9-12 years after randomization), how these impacts evolve over time, whether effects are larger for youth participants who are very young children at random assignment as recent research would suggest, and the behavioral or environmental mechanisms through which MTO affects youth violence.

Study Design: Comparison of average violence victimization and perpetration rates for youth randomly assigned to different MTO mobility treatment groups.

Setting: Since 1994 a total of 4600 low-income, mostly minority public housing families have enrolled in MTO in 5 cities (Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City).

Participants: All youth and their parents or other adults in MTO households at random assignment.

Interventions: MTO changes youth exposure to a wide variety of risk and protective factors that may vary systematically across neighborhood contexts, including peer and adult norms about violence and community-level organizations such as schools and public health or criminal justice agencies.

Outcome Measures: We seek funding to collect administrative data on violent crime and other arrests for all MTO youth and adults to measure youth violent behavior, as well as child maltreatment by parents or other adult guardians 9-12 years after randomization. We also seek funding to expand our planned surveys of up to 6800 youth ages 10-20 at the end of 2006 to include measures of violent and risky behavior violence victimization, sexual abuse and other forms of child maltreatment.