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Homeownership and labour-market behaviour: interpreting the evidence

  • Jan Rouwendal
  • Peter Nijkamp

This paper attempts to explain the repeated empirical finding that homeowners have shorter unemployment durations than tenants, even though Oswald’s hypothesis predicts longer unemployment durations for homeowners. The search models that have been proposed to motivate Oswald’s thesis have difficulties in providing an explanation for the reverse of the Oswald effect. The model proposed in this paper is close to the ones proposed earlier, in that it also studies search behaviour, but contains a richer set of effects of homeownership on search behaviour. In our model, homeowners may have a higher intensity of job search (and hence shorter unemployment durations) when their housing expenses are—all other things being equal—higher than those of tenants. Some studies have indeed found that the shorter unemployment durations occur especially among highly leveraged homeowners. We show that, in the Netherlands, many homeowners have higher housing costs than otherwise comparable tenants. The model developed in this paper is therefore able to explain the existing evidence of shorter unemployment durations for Dutch homeowners.

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Article provided by Pion Ltd, London in its journal Environment and Planning A.

Volume (Year): 42 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (February)
Pages: 419-433

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Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:42:y:2010:i:2:p:419-433
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  1. Carole Brunet & Jean-Yves Lesueur, 2003. "Do homeowners stay unemployed longer ? A French micro-econometric study," Post-Print halshs-00178576, HAL.
  2. Rasmus Lentz & Torben Tranaes, 2001. "Job Search and Savings: Wealth Effects and Duration Dependence," CESifo Working Paper Series 461, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Chetty, Raj, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Scholarly Articles 9751256, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Moral Hazard vs. Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 13967, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Mark Partridge & Dan Rickman, 1997. "The Dispersion of US State Unemployment Rates: The Role of Market and Non-market Equilibrium Factors," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(6), pages 593-606.
  6. David Card & Raj Chetty & Andrea Weber, 2007. "Cash-On-Hand and Competing Models of Intertemporal Behavior: New Evidence from the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(4), pages 1511-1560, November.
  7. Jakob Roland Munch & Michael Rosholm & Michael Svarer, 2006. "Home Ownership, Job Duration, and Wages," CAM Working Papers 2006-08, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  8. Henley, Andrew, 1998. "Residential Mobility, Housing Equity and the Labour Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 414-27, March.
  9. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  10. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Erratum: Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1197-1197, December.
  11. Oswald Andrew J., 1996. "A Conjecture on the Explanation for High Unemployment in the Industrialized Nations : Part I," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 475, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
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