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Earnings Uncertainty, Risk-Aversion and Homeownership

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  • Luis Diaz-Serrano

    (Economics Dept, NUI Maynooth)

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    Abstract

    In this paper we investigate the effect of labour income uncertainty on the probability of homeownership in Germany and Spain. This study is motivated by two facts. Firstly, theoretical models tend to provide ambiguous results in this issue. Secondly, there is limited previous empirical evidence and the existing focuses exclusively on the US housing market. We claim that more international evidence is necessary in order to disentangle this puzzle. We develop a simple theoretical formula that highlights the pivotal role of risk attitudes in the housing tenure decisions that also allow us to introduce the concept of "skewness affection" as a relevant phenomenon. To carry out this test we propose an income uncertainty measure based on panel data labour income equations. We observe that households facing increasing income uncertainty display preference for renting while those located in a positively skewed income distribution show a greater propensity for homeownership. Income uncertainty analysis in housing decisions has important implications for the design of public housing policies and also for the design of private mortgage insurance products.

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    File URL: http://economics.nuim.ie/sites/economics.nuim.ie/files/working-papers/N1350204.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth in its series Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series with number n135020.pdf.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: 2003
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:may:mayecw:n135020.pdf

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    Postal: Maynooth, Co. Kildare
    Phone: 353-1-7083728
    Fax: 353-1-7083934
    Web page: http://economics.nuim.ie
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    Related research

    Keywords: Risk aversion; skewness affection; homeownership; earnings uncertainty; transitory shocks in income; credit constraints.;

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    1. Ioannides, Yannis M., 1979. "Temporal risks and the tenure decision in housing markets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 293-297.
    2. Harvey S. Rosen & Kenneth T. Rosen & Douglas Holtz-Eakin, 1983. "Housing Tenure, Uncertainty, and Taxation," NBER Working Papers 1168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Luis Diaz-Serrano & Joop Hartog & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 2008. "Compensating Wage Differentials for Schooling Risk in Denmark," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 711-731, December.
    4. Henderson, J Vernon & Ioannides, Yannis M, 1983. "A Model of Housing Tenure Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 98-113, March.
    5. Haurin Donald R. & Hendershott Patric H. & Kim Dongwook, 1994. "Housing Decisions of American Youth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 28-45, January.
    6. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-91, March.
    7. Barakova, Irina & Bostic, Raphael W. & Calem, Paul S. & Wachter, Susan M., 2003. "Does credit quality matter for homeownership?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 318-336, December.
    8. Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-61, November.
    9. Gwilym Pryce & Margaret Keoghan, 2002. "Unemployment insurance for mortgage borrowers: is it viable and does it cover those most in need?," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 87-114, April.
    10. Chung, Eui-Chul & Haurin, Donald R., 2002. "Housing choices and uncertainty: the impact of stochastic events," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 193-216, September.
    11. Joop Hartog & Erik Plug & Luis Diaz Serrano & Jose Vieira, 2003. "Risk compensation in wages – a replication," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 639-647, July.
    12. Peter Neuteboom, 2003. "A European comparison of the costs and risks of mortgages for owner-occupiers," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 155-171, August.
    13. Fu, Yuming, 1995. "Uncertainty, liquidity, and housing choices," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 223-236, April.
    14. Robst, John & Deitz, Richard & McGoldrick, KimMarie, 1999. "Income variability, uncertainty and housing tenure choice1," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 219-229, March.
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