Essays on the behavioral political economy of housing
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science.
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This dissertation examines the ways in which housing markets shape and are shaped by the political decisions that citizens make, as well as the political beliefs that they hold. It contributes to theoretical knowledge on the political economy of urban development and housing by revisiting existing debates through a behavioralist lens. The first paper develops the theory that a noticeable change in the built environment serves as a reminder to vote when housing issues are salient. I analyze turnout in the 2015 San Francisco municipal election, and show that voters who lived in the neighborhood of infill development projects that began construction just before the election were 3 to 4 percentage points more likely to vote than those who lived near projects that began construction after the election. The second paper explores how localism, the belief that the interests of established members of the local community trump those of newcomers and outsiders, and liberalism, a preference for egalitarian norms, jointly shape attitudes toward housing growth. I use a novel survey instrument and rich observational data on land use ballot measures in San Francisco to measure these two dimensions of political ideology, and document that localism is negatively associated with support for development projects, whereas the correlation between liberalism and support for development is moderated by features of the development. The third paper proposes the status quo bias hypothesis, which predicts that housing wealth increases preference for status quo arrangements with respect to Social Security. The hypothesis is tested using a survey experiment that induces different home price expectations among respondents, as well as data from the 2000-2004 American national Election Studies panel.
Thesis: Ph. D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Political Science, 2018.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 135-145).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology