Meltzer, Rachel

Rachel Meltzer
Doctorate in Public Policy and M.P.A., New York University
Assistant Professor of Urban Policy, Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy

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Areas of Expertise:

Housing, Urban Economic Development, Public Finance, Gentrification


Rachel Meltzer’s research centers on issues related to housing, economic development and local public finance, and how public policies in these areas affect individuals, neighborhoods and cities. Her current projects look at the causes and consequences of gentrification, and specifically, how and why retail and commercial services change in neighborhoods undergoing economic and racial transitions.   In related work, she is starting a multi-year project looking at the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the economic recovery and resilience of small businesses.  Meltzer is also interested in the private provision of public goods, and she has explored a number of questions related to Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and Homeowners Associations (HOAs). In addition, she has conducted research on Inclusionary Zoning, an alternative to traditional methods of providing affordable housing, including its impact on local housing markets and the political economy behind the adoption of such policies. Her work has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Meltzer is a research Affiliate at the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University. She teaches classes on quantitative methods, policy analysis, urban economic development and public finance. Prior to her academic career, she worked as a mortgage officer and project manager for the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, where she managed the financing and rehabilitation of affordable housing. 

Meltzer earned her doctorate in Public Policy and M.P.A. from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and a B.A. in Psychology and Mathematics from Dartmouth College.

Courses Taught:
  • Policy Analysis
  • Political Economy and Public Policy Analysis I
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Urban Economic Development
Recent Publications:

“Housing Affordability and Health: Evidence from New York City.” Co-authored with Alex Schwartz. 2015. Housing Policy Debate (in press).

“Why and Where do Homeowners Associations Form?” Co-authored with Ron Cheung. 2014. Cityscape, 16(3) (special issue on American Neighborhoods: Inclusion and Exclusion): 69-92.

“How Are Homeowners Associations Capitalized into Property Values?” Co-authored with Ron Cheung. 2014. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 46: 93-102.

“Do Homeowners Associations Mitigate or Aggravate Negative Spillovers from Neighboring Homeowner Distress?” Co-authored with Ron Cheung and Chris Cunningham. 2014. Journal of Housing Economics, 24 (special issue on U.S. Housing Policy): 75-88.

“Do Homeowners Associations Affect Citywide Segregation? Evidence from Florida Municipalities.” 2013, Housing Policy Debate, 23(4): 688-713.

“Practice Makes Perfect: Teaching Policy Analysis Through Integrated Client-Based Projects.” 2013, Journal of Public Affairs Education, 19(3): 405-431.

“Homeowners Associations and the Demand for Local Land Use Regulation.” Co-authored with Ron Cheung. 2013. Journal of Regional Science, 53(3): 511-534.

“Bodegas or Bagel Shops? Neighborhood Differences in Retail & Household Services.” Co-authored with Jenny Schuetz. 2012. Economic Development Quarterly, 26(1): 73-94.

“Are Poor Neighborhoods ‘Retail Deserts’?” Co-authored with Jed Kolko and Jenny Schuetz. 2012. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 42(1): 269-285.

“Understanding Business Improvement District Formation: An Analysis of Neighborhoods and Boundaries.” 2012. Journal of Urban Economics, 71(1): 66-78.

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