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Essays on Housing Deregulation and Investment Behavior
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economics.
2024 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Welfare effects of deregulating the Swedish rental housing market

The Swedish rental housing regulations have been rated the strictest among the OECD countries. In this chapter, I examine deregulatory reforms and how different redistributive schemes affect prices, inequality, and welfare. For this purpose, I build a static general equilibrium model with heterogeneous agents, which I calibrate to match the Swedish economy. I find that all households support a reform that allows households to freely trade rental contracts. Such a reform results in a welfare gain of 411 SEK per adult equivalent and year.

How should rental housing deregulation be timed?

I build on the first chapter and examine with what timing households would prefer that the rental housing market was deregulated. I develop a dynamic general equilibrium model of a small open economy. After calibrating the model to match salient features of the Swedish economy, I use it to test and evaluate four reforms that deregulate the rental market with different time profiles. I find that, in the long run, house prices and rents in the regulated housing stock increase by 267 and 25 percent, respectively, irrespective of the reform. In the unregulated housing stock, they fall by 19 and 6 percent, respectively. In the short run, nonhomeowner outsiders prefer reforms that remove regulations swiftly whereas homeowners and insiders prefer more gradual removals.

The role of cognitive and noncognitive skills for investment behavior

We analyze layman investment behavior in a mandatory defined contribution pension plan and find strong heterogeneity in behavior and performance outcomes. In the Swedish pension system reform of 2000, entrants in the year of the launch were 51 percentage points more likely to opt out from the default fund compared to those who entered one year later. Particularly likely to opt out were individuals with prior investment experience and high noncognitive skills. Cognitive skills, on the other hand, fostered activity in terms of reallocation between funds. As a consequence, the return loss associated with a one-standard deviation increase in noncognitive skills is estimated to 11 basis points per year while cognitive skills are unrelated to returns in the pension plan. We argue that the peculiar relationship between noncognitive skills and returns stems from the circumstances at the time of the launch—only pension investors who entered the plan in 2000 suffered a return loss associated with noncognitive skills—and that the correlation between noncognitive skills and opting out from the default fund at the launch of the reform is likely a result of the intense information and advertising campaigns that took place.

Identity capital and wealth accumulation

We develop a theory of identity capital. Identity is built up around a "life project" that can take many forms and in which individuals invest time and/or money; identity capital is a stock measure capturing these investments. In this paper, we focus on the life project of building a firm and its possible relevance for (1) the high propensity to save of rich entrepreneurs and (2) the rise of risky portfolio shares in wealth. To this end, we introduce identity capital into a dynamic consumption-savings model with uninsurable idiosyncratic risk. The key model feature is a utility asymmetry: We assume that decumulating, or losing, identity leads to a utility loss, while building it up renders no utility gain. We find that identity management makes individuals reluctant to downsize when the firm's financial prospects are weak as well as to invest when they are strong.  The model also implies that, at least in parts of the wealth-identity space, the risky portfolio share increases in wealth, a result that is hard to obtain in standard models with constant relative risk aversion.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Economics, Stockholm University , 2024. , p. 212
Series
Monograph series / Institute for International Economic Studies, University of Stockholm, ISSN 0346-6892 ; 126
Keywords [en]
rent control, rent regulation, housing, savings, cognitive and noncognitive skills, portfolio choice, default choice, identity, capital, wealth
National Category
Economics
Research subject
Economics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-228428ISBN: 978-91-8014-779-8 (print)ISBN: 978-91-8014-780-4 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-228428DiVA, id: diva2:1852256
Public defence
2024-06-10, hörsal 9, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2024-05-16 Created: 2024-04-17 Last updated: 2024-05-07Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf