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Homeownership, mortgages, and unemployment

Author

Listed:
  • Yuval Kantor
  • Jan Möhlmann
  • Peter Nijkamp
  • Jan Rouwendal

    ()

Abstract

According to Oswald’s thesis, homeownership increases unemployment. Empirical research on micro-data has indeed confirmed that unemployed homeowners are less inclined to change their residential location and accept a new job elsewhere. However, it is also repeatedly found that unemployed homeowners tend to find a job more easily than otherwise comparable tenants. This paper aims to make a new contribution to the scientific debate on Oswald’s thesis by addressing the risk attitudes of job seekers. We show that decreasing absolute risk aversion implies that the exit rate from unemployment is increasing in housing costs, in the context of a standard job search model. Therefore, the higher costs associated with leveraged homeownership may be the driving force of homeowners’ observed labor market performance. We test this prediction on the basis of Dutch data on individual unemployment spells. Contrary to our hypothesis, we do not find evidence that a higher mortgage is associated with higher exit rates from unemployment. Rather, our findings support earlier micro-econometric results that homeownership tends to accelerate a successful job search. Copyright The Author(s) 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Yuval Kantor & Jan Möhlmann & Peter Nijkamp & Jan Rouwendal, 2015. "Homeownership, mortgages, and unemployment," Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, Springer, vol. 8(3), pages 253-265, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:lsprsc:v:8:y:2015:i:3:p:253-265
    DOI: 10.1007/s12076-015-0139-1
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 2013. "Does High Home-Ownership Impair the Labor Market?," NBER Working Papers 19079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. van den Berg, Gerard J & Gorter, Cees, 1997. "Job Search and Commuting Time," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 15(2), pages 269-281, April.
    3. Michiel van Leuvensteijn & Pierre Koning, 2006. "The Effect of Home-Ownership on Labour Mobility in the Netherlands," Chapters,in: Labour Market Adjustments in Europe, chapter 6 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    4. Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "A Conjecture on the Explanation for High Unemployment in the Industrialized Nations: Part I," Economic Research Papers 268744, University of Warwick - Department of Economics.
    5. Jakob Roland Munch & Michael Rosholm & Michael Svarer, 2006. "Are Homeowners Really More Unemployed?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 991-1013, October.
    6. Raj Chetty & Adam Szeidl, 2007. "Consumption Commitments and Risk Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 831-877.
    7. Jan Rouwendal & Peter Nijkamp, 2010. "Homeownership and labour-market behaviour: interpreting the evidence," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 42(2), pages 419-433, February.
    8. Casper van Ewijk & Michiel van Leuvensteijn, 2009. "Homeownership and the labour market in Europe," CPB Special Publication 79, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
    9. Pierre‐André Chiappori & Monica Paiella, 2011. "Relative Risk Aversion Is Constant: Evidence From Panel Data," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(6), pages 1021-1052, December.
    10. Paul Flatau & Matt Forbes & Patric H. Hendershott, 2003. "Homeownership and Unemployment: The Roles of Leverage and Public Housing," NBER Working Papers 10021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Harminder Battu & Ada Ma & Euan Phimister, 2008. "Housing Tenure, Job Mobility and Unemployment in the UK," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(527), pages 311-328, March.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Homeownership; Unemployment duration; Mortgage; J6; R2;

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • R2 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis

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