Five Things with Daniel Tannenbaum
Millions of Americans could face eviction from their homes this fall. As unemployment benefits run out and bans on eviction begin to lapse, those who lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic will struggle when the rent comes due. Daniel Tannenbaum is an assistant professor of economics at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research into eviction helps shed light on the causes and consequences of eviction. | Show Notes: Learn more about Daniel Tannenbaum ›› business.unl.edu/people/dtannenbaum
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[00:00:00.412](intense, thrumming music)
[00:00:02.830]COVID-19 brought business and school closings,
[00:00:06.010]unemployment, and the specter of eviction.
[00:00:11.580]How do families cope when they go through the process
[00:00:14.250]of losing their home?
[00:00:15.750]And will we see more evictions
[00:00:17.500]because of the coronavirus pandemic?
[00:00:22.710]Those are questions we asked Daniel Tannenbaum,
[00:00:25.250]Assistant Professor of economics
[00:00:27.030]at the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
[00:00:31.170]This is "Faculty 101: Five Things about Eviction."
[00:00:39.990]Daniel Tannenbaum is at home in a city.
[00:00:42.630]He grew up in Los Angeles,
[00:00:44.150]went to college in New York,
[00:00:45.640]and did his graduate work in Chicago.
[00:00:49.970]Urban areas are hubs of business and productivity,
[00:00:53.280]but they can also be centers of poverty,
[00:00:55.880]where eviction is growing more commonplace.
[00:00:58.900]Tannenbaum and his colleagues studied court records
[00:01:01.540]and census data to find out more about eviction.
[00:01:06.210]Number one, financial trouble starts
[00:01:09.010]long before eviction court
[00:01:10.810]and lingers after action is taken.
[00:01:13.780]Tenants who are in eviction court
[00:01:15.600]are experiencing financial strain for several years
[00:01:18.650]leading up to eviction.
[00:01:22.310]That financial strain sort of proceeds eviction,
[00:01:24.490]and we do find that eviction has an effect
[00:01:27.200]on financial strain,
[00:01:28.370]that it affects tenants' access to credit.
[00:01:31.240]We do see that, we also see that it has an effect
[00:01:34.030]on earnings, which sort of persists for several years,
[00:01:38.840]but we do see a lot of strain
[00:01:40.260]in the run up to eviction court as well.
[00:01:42.520]So, I mean, I think one of the potential takeaways
[00:01:44.940]of the research is that whether tenants win or lose
[00:01:47.530]their eviction case in court,
[00:01:49.630]they're experiencing a lot of financial strain regardless,
[00:01:53.610]and so that makes us think that well,
[00:01:55.540]maybe policies that are targeting
[00:01:56.930]the eviction court setting
[00:01:57.870]are maybe coming too late to benefit a lot of tenants
[00:02:01.520]in eviction court,
[00:02:02.880]but obviously a lot of research needs to be done
[00:02:05.290]on this topic still.
[00:02:08.009]Number two, in the run up to eviction court,
[00:02:10.320]financial strain is evidenced by a spike in applications
[00:02:13.680]for payday loans.
[00:02:15.120]A court ordered eviction has a lasting impact.
[00:02:18.100]For example, inability to get a loan
[00:02:20.280]for a car affects employment.
[00:02:22.730]We do see that a lot of financial strain
[00:02:24.880]precedes eviction court,
[00:02:27.250]and we do see that, and we see a decline in earnings
[00:02:29.700]in the couple of years running up to eviction court.
[00:02:32.410]However, we do see that eviction,
[00:02:34.650]an eviction can deepen this decline,
[00:02:36.920]and that earnings losses can persist
[00:02:38.770]for a long period of time.
[00:02:40.400]A court ordered eviction negatively impacts
[00:02:43.490]tenants' access to credit.
[00:02:44.810]So we see that, for example,
[00:02:47.580]in say, the likelihood of having an open credit card.
[00:02:52.190]We also see it in terms of it diminishes the likelihood
[00:02:55.470]that they'll have an auto loan, an open auto loan.
[00:02:57.720]So we can see that not only does it affect say,
[00:03:00.240]access to credit,
[00:03:01.073]but that has real consequences for consumption
[00:03:03.670]and people's ability to sort of, to be mobile,
[00:03:07.410]but that's just one potential marker.
[00:03:09.730]We also see impacts on earnings.
[00:03:11.770]We haven't published those or circulated those results yet,
[00:03:14.410]but that's something that we're doing ongoing work
[00:03:16.740]in the census data center.
[00:03:19.749]Number three, policy solutions to the eviction issue
[00:03:23.070]could include ideas like emergency rental insurance,
[00:03:26.490]but you have to define a problem before you can solve it.
[00:03:30.670]Our goal in our research is to inform the policy debate
[00:03:34.220]on housing instability and urban poverty.
[00:03:37.520]And I think, you know, I think a lot of work
[00:03:40.060]remains to be done,
[00:03:40.980]but our work is a sort of first step at trying to understand
[00:03:45.360]what are the costs of eviction on families,
[00:03:47.960]and in what dimensions does an eviction impact families.
[00:03:52.000]The very first step is measurement,
[00:03:54.430]that without measurement,
[00:03:56.400]we cannot know anything.
[00:03:58.340]You know, one of the things that we're learning
[00:03:59.670]is that evictions are quite common in the U.S.,
[00:04:01.860]and so I think trying to understand
[00:04:04.130]what are the impacts of eviction on families
[00:04:06.210]is a critical input into any policy discussion
[00:04:08.850]of how we might want to address it.
[00:04:11.270]And I think, you know, the ultimate goal
[00:04:12.580]is to think about what are the policy levers
[00:04:15.030]that are available to us as a society
[00:04:17.860]to help people experiencing housing instability,
[00:04:21.030]and which are the appropriate levers?
[00:04:22.480]Well, our research, I think,
[00:04:23.890]is an input into that discussion.
[00:04:27.829]Number four, while landlords may be willing
[00:04:30.660]to work with tenants rather than deal with empty buildings,
[00:04:34.060]the coronavirus pandemic could lead
[00:04:36.190]to an increase in evictions.
[00:04:38.690]The monthly rent is due every month,
[00:04:40.460]and the monthly rent does not know about the pandemic.
[00:04:45.239]And so I think that what we've also seen
[00:04:47.870]is that there's a tremendous impact on employment
[00:04:50.390]and certain industries in particular,
[00:04:52.280]such as retail and entertainment and hospitality,
[00:04:55.630]are heavily impacted by this, by this recession.
[00:04:59.530]And a lot of people have lost their jobs
[00:05:02.650]or have lost hours.
[00:05:06.400]And number five, eviction is embedded in U.S. culture,
[00:05:11.360]but economics research could be one way
[00:05:13.850]to help ease the pain.
[00:05:16.230]The goal of economics is to help understand
[00:05:21.130]the impact of public policy on families,
[00:05:24.170]and to think about how to lift, for example,
[00:05:26.360]families out of poverty
[00:05:27.440]and thinking about questions related to poverty.
[00:05:31.320]What inspired me and my co-authors to think about evictions
[00:05:35.880]is just how common housing instability is
[00:05:39.670]among families in the United States,
[00:05:43.240]particularly urban families
[00:05:45.380]and particularly minority families.
[00:05:48.000]This is a common facet of American life,
[00:05:50.290]and we wanted to understand the consequences of that,
[00:05:53.200]and also to think about what are the policy levers
[00:05:55.890]that are available to try to address that
[00:05:58.130]and what are likely to have benefits
[00:06:00.110]and what are likely
[00:06:00.943]to sort of create unintended consequences.
[00:06:02.850]And I think thinking about housing instability
[00:06:06.500]and urban poverty is, I think, a critical question.
[00:06:14.200]That's "Faculty 101: Five Things" with Daniel Tannenbaum.
[00:06:20.337]"Faculty 101" is produced
[00:06:22.150]by the University of Nebraska Lincoln.
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