Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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Bank of Finland Research Discussion Papers, Bank of Finland

No 8/2000:
Housing Markets, Liquidity Constraints and Labour Mobility

Markus Haavio () and Heikki Kauppi ()

Abstract: Recent European data indicate that countries where a large proportion of the population lives in owner-occupied housing are experiencing higher unemployment rates than countries where the majority of people live in private rental housing, which might suggest that rental housing enhances labor mobility. In this paper, we develop a simple intertemporal two-region model that allows us to compare owner-occupied housing markets to rental markets and to analyze how these alternative arrangements allocate people in space and time. Consistent with the empirical observations, we find that the interregional labor market is more fluid under rental housing than under owner-occupation. As a result of greater mobility, the rental arrangement also results in better allocational efficiency than owner-occupation. When dwellings are rented, the decision to move to a booming region is largely based on current productivity, whereas under owner-occupation random wealth effects encourage deviations from this optimal behavior.

Keywords: labour mobility; liquidity constraints; owner-occupation; rental housing; (follow links to similar papers)

29 pages, June 30, 2000

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