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Abstract: This paper utilises the administrative records of a state housing authority to explore welfare locks, the work incentive effects of income related rents and welfare dependence in relation to public housing. We find that welfare locks while prospective tenants are on wait turn lists are large, and this is particularly evident among males where employment rates are impacted by as much as 12 percentage points. On the other hand, we cannot detect significant effects from income related rents on employment status. Finally, we find that spells in public housing are typically longer for priority cases and those receiving high levels of housing assistance, but shorter for employed tenants with relatively high earnings. Once a tenant has been resident for between 18 and 20 months, duration dependence sets in; this means that departure form public housing becomes progressively less likely and once residence reaches between 6 and 7 years, there is virtually no likelihood of departure.