Publication DateOctober 2010
Author(s)Kim R. Manturuk, Mark R. Lindblad, Roberto G. Quercia
Homeownership gives people access to social capital via increased social ties to others. Researchers discuss the implications of this finding for housing policy and suggest new directions for research on social capital.
This research explores whether homeownership leads to increased individual social capital among low- to moderate-income families.
Social capital refers to social resources a person can access through contacts with others in his or her social networks. We theorize that homeownership can motivate interactions with others in one’s neighborhood and therefore build social capital.
Using a sample of low- and moderate-income homeowners and a matched sample of renters, we collect data on overall social resources and neighborhood-specific social resources. We find that homeowners have more total social capital resources and more neighborhood social capital resources than renters.
Neighborhood group involvement has an indirect effect on social capital, but explains only a small amount of the influence of homeownership. These findings hold when controlling for household-level and neighborhood-level sociodemographic variables, as well as when using statistical models that account for endogeneity.
Based on this evidence, we conclude that homeownership gives people access to social capital via increased social ties to others. We discuss the implications of this finding for housing policy and suggest new directions for research on social capital.
This research is also detailed in the book-length work, A Place Called Home: The Social Dimensions of Homeownership (Oxford University Press, 2017), which is an analysis of the social impacts and non-financial effects of affordable homeownership.