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Homeownership and Unemployment: The Roles of Leverage and Public Housing

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  • Paul Flatau
  • Matt Forbes
  • Patric H. Hendershott

Abstract

Oswald hypothesizes that regions and countries with high homeownership rates will experience higher natural rates of unemployment and that rising homeownership in OECD countries since the 1960s provides a key explanation for the rise in the natural rate of unemployment over the same time period. Recent tests of the Oswald thesis have found the opposite. This study differs from earlier ones both by considering different states of ownership (degrees of leverage) and types of tenancy (private, public, and rent-free) and by examining data from Australia, rather than the U.S. We demonstrate that the recent anti-Oswald results are the result of (1) highly leveraged owners having a greater incentive to remain employed and to become reemployed more rapidly that outright owners and (2) those paying below-market rents having a lower incentive to avoid unemployment or become reemployed than those paying market rents. The only positive Oswald result is that females who are outright owners have significantly slower exits from unemployment. Overall, homeownership does not increase unemployment. Finally, in line with expectations but in contrast to some earlier studies, our results indicate a significant impact of the predicted replacement ratio (unemployment benefits to wage if reemployed) on unemployment behavior. Persons with a higher predicted ratio are significantly more likely to become unemployed, and unemployed females with a higher predicted replacement ratio have longer unemployment spells than those with lower predicted ratios.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10021
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Claire Dujardin & Florence Goffette-Nagot, 2005. "Neighborhood effects, public housing and unemployment in France," Post-Print halshs-00180046, HAL.
    2. Andrea Morescalchi, 2016. "The Puzzle Of Job Search And Housing Tenure: A Reconciliation Of Theory And Empirical Evidence," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 56(2), pages 288-312, March.
    3. Silvio Rendon & Nuria Quella, 2013. "Behind the Great Recession: Job Search and Housing Decisions," Department of Economics Working Papers 13-03, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
    4. Richard K. Green & Bingbing Wang, 2015. "Housing Tenure and Unemployment," Working Paper 9474, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate.
    5. Yuval Kantor & Peter Nijkamp & Jan Rouwendal, 2013. "Homeownership, Unemployment and Commuting Distances," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-144/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.
    6. Dohmen, Thomas J., 2005. "Housing, mobility and unemployment," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 305-325, May.
    7. Claire Dujardin & Florence Goffette-Nagot, 2009. "Does public housing occupancy increase unemployment?," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(6), pages 823-851, November.
    8. Núria Quella & Silvio Rendon, 2014. "The Interaction between Job Search and Housing Decisions," 2014 Meeting Papers 1222, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Laamanen, Jani-Petri, 2017. "Home-ownership and the Labour Market: Evidence from Rental Housing Market Deregulation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 157-167.
    10. Arthur Grimes & Suzi Kerr & Andrew Aitken, 2004. "Bi-Directions Impacts of Economic, Social and Environmental Changes and the New Zealand Housing Market," Working Papers 04_09, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    11. Coulson, N. Edward & Fisher, Lynn M., 2009. "Housing tenure and labor market impacts: The search goes on," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 252-264, May.
    12. Bouyon, Sylvain, 2015. "Home ownership, labour markets and the economic crisis," ECRI Papers 10690, Centre for European Policy Studies.
    13. Nathalie Havet & Carole Brunet, 2009. "Propriété immobilière et déqualifications dans l'emploi," Revue Française d'Économie, Programme National Persée, vol. 24(1), pages 121-155.
    14. David Barker & Eric Miller, 2009. "Homeownership and Child Welfare," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 37(2), pages 279-303.
    15. J. Meekes & W.H.J. Hassink, 2016. "The role of the housing market in workers’ resilience to job displacement after firm bankruptcy," Working Papers 16-10, Utrecht School of Economics.
    16. Aida Caldera Sánchez & Dan Andrews, 2011. "To Move or not to Move: What Drives Residential Mobility Rates in the OECD?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 846, OECD Publishing.
    17. Meekes, Jordy & Hassink, Wolter, 2017. "The Role of the Housing Market in Workers' Resilience to Job Displacement after Firm Bankruptcy," IZA Discussion Papers 10894, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    18. Taskin, A. A. & Yaman, F., 2016. "Homeownership and Unemployment Duration," Working Papers 13/04, Department of Economics, City University London.
    19. Coulson, N. Edward & Grieco, Paul L.E., 2013. "Mobility and mortgages: Evidence from the PSID," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 1-7.
    20. Rodríguez Hernández, José E. & Barrios García, Javier A., 2012. "¿Incide la forma de tenencia de la vivienda habitual sobre la situación de empleo en España?/Does the Housing Tenure Choice Affect the Employment Situation in Spain?," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 30, pages 751(22)-751, Agosto.
    21. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • R2 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis

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