Failure mode analysis for the housing allowance program

by Robert A. Levine

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Analysis of what might go wrong in a housing allowance program, stressing the danger of favorable experimental findings proving illusory during a national program, or flaws in program operation not anticipated by the experiment. Possible causes of experimental failure are (1) collapse due to politics, the media, or corruption and its exposure; (2) experimental errors such as careless site selection. Overadministration may lead to false acceptance of the program: special procedures may prevent underreporting; counseling may be too good; too many inspections will be possible. A national program could fail because the experiment was over-administered; because findings reflected research attention not possible in a national program; because relevant mobility and desegregation data were not gathered; because of unfavorable political or media reactions; or because of difficulties in writing and passing the law. The experiment might, in fact, substitute for analytic thought and careful social programming.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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