Appreciating Housing: The Role of Housing in Politics
CitationMabud, Rakeen. 2016. Appreciating Housing: The Role of Housing in Politics. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractWhile the economic implications of housing have been examined extensively, surprisingly limited attention has been devoted to how the housing market impacts politics. My dissertation is a three paper compilation that addresses the relationship between housing and politics. Taken together, this dissertation traces through the ways in which housing plays a role in American political life, from preference formation to concrete participatory outcomes such as voting and writing to legislators.
In my first paper, Unemployment Shocks, Housing Wealth and Political Preferences, I demonstrate that housing has micro-economic implications for the way people smooth over income shocks. I find that people in counties which experience an unexpected unemployment shock finance that shock using mortgage loans, and that there is a life-cycle aspect to such financing. I also find that people perceive social insurance and home equity as substitutes, but only when access to home equity is relatively high.
My second paper, Lending Support: Agency MBS Issuance and Rewarding Incumbents, examines how a shock to housing wealth affects electoral outcomes. I demonstrate that after experiencing a large increase in mortgage credit post-2000, low-income counties were more likely to support their incumbents. This effect principally pertains to Democratic incumbents, who were particularly vocal in advocating for the maintenance of these loosened credit conditions, and used these conditions to claim credit for providing access to housing in poorer counties.
Finally, my third paper, Local Economic Information, Foreclosure and Political Attitudes, delves into the cognitive role that housing plays in making individual political behavioral decisions. I find that reading about or seeing a photo of a foreclosed house makes respondents more likely to send a strongly worded letter to their Member of Congress, whereas seeing a photo of a foreclosed house is about twice as likely to make respondents express interest in engaging with their local community. I also find that seeing a photo of a foreclosure and reading about foreclosures serve as almost perfect substitutes.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:33493473
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