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Is owning your home good for your health? Evidence from exogenous variations in subsidies in England

Luke A. Munford, Eleonora Fichera and Matt Sutton

Economics & Human Biology, 2020, vol. 39, issue C

Abstract: Home ownership is an important component of wealth and may affect health through a range of mechanisms. Using macro- and micro-level data from 2000 to 2008, we seek to estimate the causal effect of home ownership on health by exploiting the Right to Buy policy, which encouraged long-term tenants of publicly rented housing to buy their home at a large discount. At the macro-level we find that a 10 percentage-point increase in home ownership rates is associated with a 2 percentage-point reduction in the number of people reporting having a longstanding health condition. At the individual level we find that home ownership increases the General Health Questionnaire score by 1.46 points on a 37-point scale and self-assessed health by 0.19 points on a 5-point scale and reduces the number of health conditions reported by 0.65. Further analyses show that home ownership affects health via labour markets, with new job opportunities, extra time saved travelling and resources available for healthy leisure activities. These results suggest that housing policies, such as affordable housing, can be an example of non-health policies that improve health.

Keywords: Home ownership; Health and well-being; Right to Buy; Housing policies (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H70 I10 I31 I38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2020.100903

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