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On the negative relationship between labor income uncertainty and homeownership: Risk-aversion vs. credit constraints

  • Diaz-Serrano, Luis

Barriers to homeownership have traditionally been an important research and policy issue. In particular, the role of income volatility and credit constraints have been one of the main focuses in this concern. In this paper we test for the first time whether the underlying nature behind the negative effect of income uncertainty on the owner-occupancy propensities is driven by risk aversion, as it is assumed in most of the theoretical models, or on the contrary it is driven by credit constraints. The former question emerges from the plausible assumption that households facing higher income volatility are also expected to face borrowing constraints. To disentangle this puzzle, we use an unusually rich data coming from the Italian Survey of Household Income and Wealth carried out by the Bank of Italy. Our results confirm that in Italy both labor income uncertainty and credit constraints exert a significant negative effect on the probability of homeownership. Our main findings indicate that the negative relationship between labor income uncertainty and the owner-occupancy propensities are just driven by households’ risk aversion, while credit constraints play no role.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Housing Economics.

Volume (Year): 14 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 109-126

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jhouse:v:14:y:2005:i:2:p:109-126
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/622881

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  4. Stephen L. Ross & Geoffrey M. B. Tootell, 2000. "Redlining, the Community Reinvestment Act, and Private Mortgage Insurance," Working papers 2000-04, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  5. Diaz-Serrano, Luis, 2005. "Labor income uncertainty, skewness and homeownership: A panel data study for Germany and Spain," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 156-176, July.
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  7. Irina Barakova & Raphael Bostic & Paul Calem & Susan Wachter, . "Does Credit Quality Matter for Homeownership?," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 410, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
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  16. 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.
  17. Jianakoplos, Nancy Ammon & Bernasek, Alexandra, 1998. "Are Women More Risk Averse?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 620-30, October.
  18. Donald R. Haurin & Patric H. Hendershott & Susan M. Wachter, 1996. "Borrowing Constraints and the Tenure Choice of Young Households," NBER Working Papers 5630, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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