Homeownership And The American Dream - An Analysis Of Intergenerational Mobility EEcts
Author(s) Nirupama Kulkarni and Ulrike Malmendier


Increasing homeownership has been a major policy goal for decades, especially in low-income areas. We argue that the positive correlation of homeownership and intergenerational mobility is highly place-dependent. First, we link commuting zone-level homeownership rates to intergenerational mobility, and nd a strong positive relationship. The relationship persists after instrumenting for ownership using housing supply or price shocks. Second, we show that the positive relation between of homeownership and upward mobility is signi cantly diminished, or disappears, in areas with high sprawl or segregation. Third, we nd a similar relationship between homeownershhip and social capital { strongly positive but signi cantly diminished in high-sprawl or high-segregation areas. Our ndings suggest that parents' homeownership and, more generally, high homeownership rates may not bene t, or even disadvantage children in segregated, poor areas, possibly through reduced residential mobility.

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