IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/taf/intjhp/v11y2011i4p357-374.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

A Qualitative Comparative Approach to the Role of Housing Equity in the Life Cycle

Author

Listed:
  • Marja Elsinga

Abstract

The economic life-cycle model assumes that households spread their income as well as possible over the life cycle (Deaton, 1992). They accumulate wealth throughout the life cycle and decumulate in old age. To date, however, results have shown that households tend to treat housing wealth different from other types of wealth. How can this be explained? Are people poorly informed, do they face practical restrictions or might they have other rationalities? This contribution demonstrates that choice that may seem irrational in the perspective of the life-cycle theory, appear rather rational when you take into account the formal and informal institutions in a country. To unravel the role of formal and informal institutions in people's choices, comparative qualitative research is of great value. The basic life-cycle model is a typical example of a universalistic model, which assumes that the rational foresighted consumer will distribute income and expenditures smoothly over the life cycle, regardless of institutional context. This approach facilitates the comparison of countries, as it is the rational agent that matters and rational agents are the same in all countries. In this contribution the life-cycle model (LCM) theory is taken as a case study to explain how qualitative comparative research can contribute to explaining why people do not act as this theory expects and why they behave as they do. We assume that contexts matter for households. Fiscal policies, housing policies and welfare-state arrangements (formal institutions) influence consumer behaviour, as do values, norms (informal institutions), in other words rationality is bounded by institutions (Hantrais, 2009; Kato, 1996). This contribution focuses on the role of institutions in this debate, drawing upon an example of a comparative housing study. The results demonstrate that comparative qualitative housing research helps to explain why households do not act according to the life cycle in the case of housing equity.

Suggested Citation

  • Marja Elsinga, 2011. "A Qualitative Comparative Approach to the Role of Housing Equity in the Life Cycle," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 11(4), pages 357-374, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:intjhp:v:11:y:2011:i:4:p:357-374
    DOI: 10.1080/14616718.2011.626599
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/14616718.2011.626599
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:intjhp:v:11:y:2011:i:4:p:357-374. 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: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: http://www.tandfonline.com/REUJ20 .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.