Home ownership, social insurance, and the welfare state

Dalton Conley, Brian Gifford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Home ownership has potentially significant consequences for welfare state policy. High owner-occupancy rates may function as private insurance where social spending is low (a substitution effect). Alternatively, state income redistribution policies could raise the number of home owners (an income effect). Cross-national time-series data show that social spending is negatively related to home ownership, and mediates the positive relationship between income inequality and owner-occupancy rates. This suggests that owner-occupancy acts as a form of social insurance over the life course. Future welfare state researchers should consider the issue of home ownership in analyses of inequality and the social safety net.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-82
Number of pages28
JournalSociological Forum
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Home ownership
  • Income
  • Policy
  • Welfare


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