This paper examines the role of local housing market conditions for social capital accumulation and neighborhood club good provision. A model of individual investment decisions predicts that in a setting with high property transaction costs (i) homeowners are more likely to invest in social capital than renters and (ii) the positive link between homeownership and social capital is stronger in more built-up neighborhoods with inelastic supply of new housing. In these neighborhoods homeowners are largely protected from inflows of newcomers that would dilute the net benefit from social capital in the longer run. Empirical evidence from the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey confirms the model predictions. Instrumental variable estimates suggest that the effects are causal.
Research Papers in Environmental and Spatial Analysis
September 6, 2007