Does Homeownership Reduce Crime? A Radical Housing Reform from the UK
73 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2021
Date Written: January 3, 2021
“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: Suggested Citation