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Publication Date

May 2012


Kim R. Manturuk, Mark R. Lindblad, Roberto G. Quercia


Ford Foundation

This paper tests whether there is a causal relationship between homeownership and two forms of civic engagement. We explore three theoretical linkages between homeownership and civic engagement: financial self-interest, the dwelling as a bundle of interests, and residential mobility.

Using a sample of lower-income homeowners and a matched sample of renters, we analyze data on neighborhood group membership, social activity, homeownership status, and mobility over a 4-year period.

Findings indicate that renters who became homeowners during the study period were no more involved in neighborhood organizations prior to homeownership than renters who did not become homeowners. However, involvement increased significantly after these renters became homeowners. We discuss the implications of this finding for policies aimed at promoting homeownership in lower-wealth urban neighborhoods.

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.

Topics(s): Affordable Homeownership, Community Advantage Program, Housing Policy, Impacts of Homeownership, Mortgage Finance, Other