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Economic Development and Changes in Crime and Risk Behaviors

a PSC Small Fund Research Project

Investigator:   Jeffrey Morenoff

Neighborhood-level interventions provide an opportunity to better understand the impact that neighborhoods have on health. We used an exogenous source of neighborhood change in Medellín, Colombia--the construction of a gondola in 2004 to connect residents in the periphery to the urban center--as a natural experiment to study the effect of neighborhood change on health. The study used a pre-post design with intervention neighborhoods (n=25) matched to control neighborhoods (n=23) and residents (n=599) interviewed in 2003 and 2008. Residents in intervention neighborhoods reported a greater increase in trust and reliance in the police, in the number of neighborhood amenities, and in collective efficacy and new businesses, than residents in control neighborhoods. Intervention neighborhood residents also reported greater decreases in homicide, in perceived neighborhood violence and in excessive alcohol use after the intervention than control neighborhoods. Our results show that exogenous changes in neighborhoods have measurable impacts on health-related factors.

Funding Period: 04/01/2009 to 06/30/2010

Country of Focus: Colombia

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