Does Homeownership Reduce Crime? A Radical Housing Reform from the UK

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See all articles by Richard F. Disney

Richard F. Disney

University of Nottingham; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Axia Economics

John Gathergood

University of Nottingham - School of Economics

Stephen J. Machin

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics

Matteo Sandi

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)

Date Written: January 3, 2021

Abstract

“Right to Buy” (RTB), a large-scale natural experiment by which incumbent tenants in public housing could buy properties at heavily-subsidised prices, increased the UK homeownership rate by over 10 percentage points between 1980 and the late 1990s. This paper studies its impact on crime, showing that RTB generated significant reductions in property and violent crime that persist up to today. The behavioural changes of incumbent tenants and the renovation of public properties were the main drivers of the crime reduction. This is evidence of a novel means by which subsidised homeownership and housing policy may contribute to reduce criminality.

Keywords: Crime; Homeownership; Public Housing

JEL Classification: H44, K14, R31

Suggested Citation

Disney, Richard F. and Gathergood, John and Machin, Stephen J. and Sandi, Matteo, Does Homeownership Reduce Crime? A Radical Housing Reform from the UK (January 3, 2021). CFS Working Paper, No. 651, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Richard F. Disney (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham ( email )

School of Economics
Nottingham NG7 2RD
United Kingdom
+44 115 951 5620 (Phone)
+44 115 951 4159 (Fax)

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Axia Economics ( email )

38 Concanon Road
London SW2 5TA
United Kingdom

John Gathergood

University of Nottingham - School of Economics ( email )

Sir Clive Granger Building
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/gathergoodjohn/

Stephen J. Machin

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Matteo Sandi

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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