Earmarking Space: Relationality, Economic Judgments, and Housing Wealth

Socio-Economic Review (forthcoming) (w/Max Besbris)
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Housing wealth is the single largest portion of household wealth in most Western societies today, yet little research has examined how individuals make decisions regarding the use of the housing wealth that they possess. In this paper, we leverage insights from relational economic sociology to understand how individuals’ subjective valuations and other economic judgments are influenced when space in a home is relationally earmarked. Using a series of original vignette experiments and survey tasks in conjunction with qualitative responses, we find that earmarking a room for a close social tie does indeed matter for valuation. Furthermore, we reveal that economic judgments are…