MIP network member John Eric Humphries recently sat down with us to discuss his recent HCEO working paper on evictions, looking at data from Cook County. 

"This work is really try to answer a causal question about evictions, and in particular this question: is eviction causing poverty?" Humphries says.

The problem of evictions - of which there are 2 million each year in the U.S. - has been gaining more and more national attention, from both policymakers and the media. Much of this can be tied to MIP network member Matthew Desmond's 2016 book, "Evicted," which won the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction. 

Humphries and his co-authors were interested in separating out the causal impact of eviction on increased financial distress of other outcomes that are of interest to policymakers from the broader distress that causes people to end up in eviction court.

"The key takeaway of our results is if the goals of this new focus on evictions in the U.S. and policies to address them is to prevent the broader disruption we know is associated with evictions, then intervening in the court system is probably too late and is unlikely to address the broader disruption," Humphries says.

Humphries is Assistant Professor of Economics at Yale University.