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Earnings Uncertainty, Risk-Aversion and Homeownership

Author

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  • Luis Diaz-Serrano

    (Economics Dept, NUI Maynooth)

Abstract

In this paper we investigate the effect of labour income uncertainty on the probability of homeownership in Germany and Spain. This study is motivated by two facts. Firstly, theoretical models tend to provide ambiguous results in this issue. Secondly, there is limited previous empirical evidence and the existing focuses exclusively on the US housing market. We claim that more international evidence is necessary in order to disentangle this puzzle. We develop a simple theoretical formula that highlights the pivotal role of risk attitudes in the housing tenure decisions that also allow us to introduce the concept of "skewness affection" as a relevant phenomenon. To carry out this test we propose an income uncertainty measure based on panel data labour income equations. We observe that households facing increasing income uncertainty display preference for renting while those located in a positively skewed income distribution show a greater propensity for homeownership. Income uncertainty analysis in housing decisions has important implications for the design of public housing policies and also for the design of private mortgage insurance products.

Suggested Citation

  • Luis Diaz-Serrano, 2003. "Earnings Uncertainty, Risk-Aversion and Homeownership," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n135020.pdf, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  • Handle: RePEc:may:mayecw:n135020.pdf
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    File URL: http://repec.maynoothuniversity.ie/mayecw-files/N1350204.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Luis Diaz-Serrano & Joop Hartog & Helena Skyt Nielsen, 2008. "Compensating Wage Differentials for Schooling Risk in Denmark," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 110(4), pages 711-731, December.
    2. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1991. "Loss Aversion in Riskless Choice: A Reference-Dependent Model," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1039-1061.
    3. Chung, Eui-Chul & Haurin, Donald R., 2002. "Housing choices and uncertainty: the impact of stochastic events," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 193-216, September.
    4. Barakova, Irina & Bostic, Raphael W. & Calem, Paul S. & Wachter, Susan M., 2003. "Does credit quality matter for homeownership?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 318-336, December.
    5. Rosen, Harvey S & Rosen, Kenneth T & Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1984. "Housing Tenure, Uncertainty, and Taxation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(3), pages 405-416, August.
    6. Ioannides, Yannis M., 1979. "Temporal risks and the tenure decision in housing markets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 293-297.
    7. Kahneman, Daniel & Tversky, Amos, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(2), pages 263-291, March.
    8. Gwilym Pryce & Margaret Keoghan, 2002. "Unemployment insurance for mortgage borrowers: is it viable and does it cover those most in need?," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 87-114, April.
    9. 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.
    10. Henderson, J Vernon & Ioannides, Yannis M, 1983. "A Model of Housing Tenure Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(1), pages 98-113, March.
    11. Joop Hartog & Erik Plug & Luis Diaz Serrano & Jose Vieira, 2003. "Risk compensation in wages – a replication," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 639-647, July.
    12. Peter Neuteboom, 2003. "A European comparison of the costs and risks of mortgages for owner-occupiers," European Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 3(2), pages 155-171, August.
    13. Haurin Donald R. & Hendershott Patric H. & Kim Dongwook, 1994. "Housing Decisions of American Youth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 28-45, January.
    14. Fu, Yuming, 1995. "Uncertainty, liquidity, and housing choices," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 223-236, April.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk aversion; skewness affection; homeownership; earnings uncertainty; transitory shocks in income; credit constraints.;

    JEL classification:

    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • R0 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General
    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General

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