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Does homeownership reduce crime? A radical housing reform from the UK

Disney, Richard, Gathergood, John, Machin, Stephen and Sandi, Matteo ORCID: 0000-0003-4333-8821 (2023) Does homeownership reduce crime? A radical housing reform from the UK. Economic Journal. ISSN 0013-0133

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Identification Number: 10.1093/ej/uead040


“Right to Buy” (RTB), a large-scale natural experiment whereby incumbent tenants in public housing could buy properties at heavily-subsidised prices, increased the UK homeownership rate by over 10 percentage points between its 1980 introduction and the 1990s. This paper studies the impact of this reform on crime by leveraging exogenous variation in eligibility for the policy. Results show that RTB generated significant property crime reductions. Behavioural changes of incumbent tenants and renovation of public properties were the main drivers of this crime reduction. This is evidence of a novel means by which subsidised homeownership and housing policy can reduce criminality.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author(s)
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
K Law
JEL classification: H - Public Economics > H4 - Publicly Provided Goods > H44 - Publicly Provided Goods: Mixed Markets
K - Law and Economics > K1 - Basic Areas of Law > K14 - Criminal Law
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R3 - Production Analysis and Firm Location > R31 - Housing Supply and Markets
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2023 13:30
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 04:08

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