The lack of affordable housing for the elderly is a significant social problem. An important factor in private and public sector efforts to address housing needs is the strong complementarity between health and housing at older ages, suggesting housing and health issues should be considered in tandem. Unfortunately, public agencies concerned with health and housing issues are split between the state, local, and federal levels. This split is mirrored in academic research: those focusing on housing rarely consider health; those focusing on health rarely consider housing.
This proposal outlines an innovative approach to the empirical economic analysis of the relationship between affordable housing and the health, medical expenditures, and living arrangements of older Americans. Detailed location-based data on subsidized and unsubsidized senior housing options as well as Medicare claims records will be merged to data on older individuals in the 1992-2012 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS). The project has six specific aims:
The project makes three major contributions to the literature. First, it seeks to expand empirical economic analysis about elderly housing affordability and its impact in a broad set of domains. Second, it directly estimates the impact on the Medicare program of elderly affordable housing and residential choices. Finally, it helps to illuminate the short-run impact of the Great Recession on older Americans.
The findings of this research program will be of interest to government officials, media, for-profit and not-for-profit private sector entities, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (ASPE), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (PD&R), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging (NIH/NIA), and Congressional committees and staff with housing, health, and aging oversight.