IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Homeownership: yesterday, today and tomorrow

Listed author(s):
  • Steve Swidler

Purpose - The American Dream and homeownership are sometimes thought of as one and the same. A belief that homeownership is vital to the fabric of a vibrant society has led to government policies that encourage homeownership. This suggests that homeownership and societal well-being are positively related. However, empirical analysis does not support this positive relationship either within the USA or across countries. This has important policy implications given the research in this special issue that discusses the macro and micro economic consequences of government programs that promote homeownership. Moving forward, we must consider both the private and public benefits of homeownership and also realize that the very concept of what a house is will likely change. This paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach - The analysis examines the relation between the incidence of homeownership and the well-being (happiness) of a community. The analysis is first performed across the 50 states and then is done on a cross-section of 26 countries. Findings - The correlation coefficient between home ownership rates and well-being are negative for both the US and international data. The evidence does not support the belief that homeownership is either necessary or sufficient for societal well-being. Originality/value - The paper presents some of the first empirical analysis to examine the relationship between homeownership and societal well-being. Other studies in this special issue document both public and price costs to owning a home. Taken together, the special issue has important implications for government policies that encourage homeownership.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal Journal of Financial Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 5-11

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eme:jfeppp:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:5-11
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK
Web: Email:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:jfeppp:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:5-11. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Virginia Chapman)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.