- Volume 11 Number 3
Homeownership and Local Voting in Disadvantaged Urban Neighborhoods
Roberto G. Quercia
As with the articles in this issue, this introduction reflects the views of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Homeownership has long been considered the cornerstone of the American dream, and considerable research has pointed to the social benefits of homeownership for both families and communities. Yet research concerning this link between homeownership and social participation has recently undergone critique for failing to consider neighbor- hood context. Do homeowners in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods become active participants in neighborhood improvement, or do they feel stuck in undesirable neighborhoods where they perceive little potential for change? The research addresses endogeneity concerns and shows that, when compared with renters, homeowners are more likely to have voted in recent local elections. Neighborhood context does moderate this relationship, with homeowners in disadvantaged neighborhoods being more likely to vote than owners in other areas. These findings suggest that, despite potential household-level costs associated with owning a home in a disadvantaged urban area, responsible homeownership in such areas promotes local political involvement among lower income residents.
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