Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Latin American home owners are happier, unlike US ones

There is a myth saying that owning a home makes people happier and leads them to contribute more to their community. In an earlier report, I pointed out that this idea is a myth for the US homeowner. What about elsewhere?

Inder Ruprah finds that Latin American house owners are indeed happier. This is obtained from a survey where people declare how happy they are, the reliance of which many researchers have called into question. But happiness studies slowly get more acceptance, especially when results are clear cut, like here. Of course, homeownership could be correlated with some unobservables that matter a lot for happiness, for example economic and social standing. There is a variable that could capture this in the regression, "Interviewer assessment of economic situation of the household," but I have no idea how reliable it is.

PS: The pdf file is 7.3MB large. It took me five attempts to download it. There are a few very simple graphs and histograms in the paper, in other words no reason to have such a large file, but for unnecessary front and back covers. But if the IADB is willing to waste bandwidth that way, especially as its target audience in Latin America may not necessarily enjoy fast internet.

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