Skip to content

Academic Publications


Is Household Wealth Sustainable? An Examination of Asset Poverty Reentry After an Exit
Journal of Family and Economic Issues, June 2014
Tammy Leonard and Wenhua Di

Abstract: This paper analyzed the influence of financial behaviors on the duration out of asset poverty while controlling for households’ life cycle and demographic characteristics. We found evidence for the existence of structural barriers to asset acquisition. Asset accumulation at or above levels equal to nine months worth of income at the income-poverty level was important for improving a household’s odds of permanently escaping asset poverty, but a linear relationship between asset accumulation and the likelihood of returning to asset poverty did not emerge. Moreover, minimizing debt and diversifying the asset portfolio to include more productive assets were positively related to maintaining assets; but households should also consider the risks associated with portfolio allocations.


The Impact of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program on Local Schools
Journal of Housing Economics, December 2013
Wenhua Di and James C. Murdoch

Abstract: The low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program has developed over two million rental homes for low-income households since 1986. The perception of deterioration in school quality has been a main reason for community opposition to LIHTC projects in middle- and upper-income areas. In this paper, we examine the impact of LIHTC projects on the nearby school performance using data on all LIHTC projects and elementary schools in Texas from the 2003–04 through 2008–09 academic years. We employ the longitudinal structure of the data to control for school fixed effects and estimate the relationship between the opening of nearby LIHTC on campus-level standardized test scores and performance ratings. We address the potential selection biases by controlling for preexisting trends in school performance prior to the study period. We find no robust evidence that the opening of LIHTC units negatively impacts the performance of nearby elementary schools.

Introduction to Special Issue on Behavioral Consumer Finance
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, November 2013
Wenhua Di, Catherine Eckel and James C. Murdoch


An analysis of the neighborhood impacts of a mortgage assistance program: A spatial hedonic model
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, July 2010
Wenhua di, Jielai Ma and James C. Murdoch

Abstract: Down payment or closing cost assistance is an effective program in addressing the wealth constraints of low-and moderate-income homebuyers. However, the spillover effect of such programs on the neighborhood is unknown. This paper estimates the impact of the City of Dallas Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP) on nearby home values using a hedonic model of home sales from 1990 to 2006. We define neighborhoods of 1,000 feet around each sale and estimate the average differences in sales prices between neighborhoods with various numbers of MAP properties before and after their appearance. We find that MAP properties tend to locate in neighborhoods with lower property values; however, unless a concentration of MAP properties forms, the infusion of MAP properties has little detrimental impact on neighboring property values. Moreover, low concentration of MAP properties has a modest positive impact on surrounding property values. © 2010 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.