in Current History (2022), 121(833), 83-89
Housing is a flash point in many European countries, with protests erupting and citizens voting to wrench properties from big investors. Inequality is driving the explosive debate, as households across the income distribution face very different kinds of challenges and opportunities in today’s unequal housing markets. The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the risks and rewards already present across different subgroups. This housing-generated inequality creates a conundrum for governments that must balance the interests of competing constituencies with complex housing markets, and points to fundamental questions about how to order society.
in Ronald, Richard; Arundel, Rowan (Eds.) Families, Housing and Property Wealth in a Neoliberal World (2022)
Why has ‘adulting’ – attaining traditional life-cycle milestones such as exit from the parental home, partnering, and parenting – recently become so hard for the millenniali cohort to attain in high-income OECD countries? Changes to housing and housing policy are a central but often neglected component in answering this question. The intensification of privatization, commodification, and financialization of housing in recent decades reflect shifts in welfare states away from policies that enabled previous adult cohorts to meet life-cycle milestones, and towards policies that now undermine contemporary young adults in reaching those milestones. The popular label ‘Generation Rent’, mentioned throughout this book, captures this general trend across higher-income OECD countries. In response, families in various contexts have increasingly mobilized themselves around the accumulation and circulation of housing property as they seek to reach those milestones while protecting themselves from new social and economic uncertainties. Differences in personal and family resources across the millennial generation, however, produce considerable internal heterogeneity within that cohort. Indeed, not all millennials fall into Generation Rent. In this chapter we address the common housing market trends across OECD countries that stem from changes in welfare state polices, arguing that these developments account for much of the difficulties facing the millennial cohort.
in Journal of European Social Policy (2021), 31(5), 580-596
How has housing wealth inequality changed for young-adult households in the post-financial crisis period, and what is driving such change? We chart a path for subsequent studies by analysing the previously unexamined post-crisis housing wealth profile of young adults via different angles and using multiple inequality measures. Using household micro-data for 11 European countries (Household Finance and Consumption Survey, 2010–2017) and the United States (Survey of Consumer Finances, 2010–2016), we find that the accumulation of housing assets for 22–44 year olds is unevenly concentrated among high-income homeowners, over and above what would be expected given the well-known decline in homeownership. We describe and assess several potential drivers for these wealth profile changes, finding that the current explanations offered in the literature do not adequately account for the unequal wealth profile of young people. We conclude that a mix of dynamics, including housing market volatility, housing market configurations leading to uneven capital gains and losses, and the increased social selectivity of homeownership intersect to shape the ways that young adults navigate the housing market in post-crisis times.
in West European Politics (2020), 43(2), 321-343
How do governmental housing policies affect the ability of young people to exit the parental home? This paper makes three claims. First and most important, governments that create accessible and liquid mortgage markets make it easier for young people to launch from the parental home. Second, even in those countries with more liquid housing markets, younger generations today still have an increasingly difficult time realising their preferences compared to prior generations. Third, increasing income and wealth inequality interacts with housing markets to create this uneven playing field both within and across generations. This paper examines these relationships in 20 high-income OECD countries. Fewer adult children live in the parental home in countries with deep mortgage markets, high levels of social rented housing, tax relief for ownership, low buyers’ transaction costs and high residential mobility. These countries cut across the traditional housing regime typologies, highlighting the need for additional housing-specific theory building.
in Intergenerational Justice Review (2020), 6(1), 3
in Intergenerational Justice Review (2020), 6(1),
in Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State, and Society (2019), 26(3), 394-418
How does homeownership magnify existing gender disparities in the labor markets of the rich OECD countries? Men and women, and especially mothers and fathers, respond to homeownership differently. Owners work more hours than renters but mothers experience an ownership penalty while fathers solidify their market attachment. Both responses increase the gender gap. As such, governments pursuing dual policy objectives of promoting homeownership and greater gender parity in the labor market will find their policies working at cross-purposes. This paper analyzes the effect of homeownership on labor market attachment and explains why mothers and fathers respond to it in different ways.
in Journal of European Social Policy (2017), 27(3), 260-275
How does the structure of a country’s childcare market influence maternal employment? Childcare markets vary across countries, leading mothers to rely on various forms of care depending on what is available to them in both the public (state-provided) and private (non-state) childcare markets. Maternal employment is higher in countries that combine comprehensive childcare policies with an available and affordable private care market. When aspects of either the public or private market are lacking, the employment of mothers, and especially mothers with young children, is lower. This article proposes a fourfold classification scheme based on the type of ‘penalty’ that women experience in the labour market as mothers. It then links each penalty to distinct policy structures of childcare markets and shows that the four penalties are visible at both the country and individual level. By articulating how public and private care markets work in concert to shape maternal employment, this article adds to a literature that to date has focused primarily on the role of public childcare in reconciling work and family.
in International Journal of Housing Policy (2017), 17(3), 374-395
Individuals face challenges in acquiring suitable housing at multiple stages of their life. Many stages – leaving the parental home, partnering, having children – have historically clustered in the 20s and early 30s. Increasingly, these stages extend into the late 30s and early 40s. This paper proposes a new framework to assess the role of housing in shaping the physical and financial space individuals have to meet their family goals. It identifies two links, one indirect and one direct, between housing and family size. Indirectly, later exits from the parental home correspond to delays in family formation and smaller families. Directly, housing costs compete with spending on children prompting tradeoffs and smaller families. The two links are supported utilising cross-national microdata from 18 countries in Europe and North America during the mid-2000s with an additional analysis of four focus countries: Austria, Germany, France, and Italy. This paper adds to a growing body of literature emphasising the importance of housing, family formation, and family size. It also emphasises a need to reframe the focus of the literature from housing tenure and the second half of the adult life course to housing costs and the first half of the adult life course.
in Jesuit, David K.; Williams, Russell Alan (Eds.) Public Policy, Governance and Polarization: Making Governance Work (2017)
in Politics and Society (2017), 45(4), 471-503
What explains the unexpected, uneven, but unquestionably pervasive trend toward re-familialization in the rich OECD countries? The usual arguments about political responses to rising income inequality, unstable families, and unstable employment predicted that the state would increasingly shelter people against risk, producing greater individuation and de- rather than re-familialization. By contrast, we argue three things. First, re-familialization has replaced de-familialization. Second, unequal access to housing drives a large part of re-familialization. Rather than becoming more “Anglo-Nordic,” countries are becoming more “southern European” in the way that younger cohorts access housing. Third, this inequality-driven insecurity and unequal access is felt differently not only between generational cohorts but also within cohorts.