Peek, Gina Gould
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What is the relationship between homeownership and citizenship, as measured by religious and political voluntarism? Religious voluntarism is primarily defined by how often respondent volunteered at or through church, synagogue, or mosque, such as serving on a committee, assisting in worship, teaching, or helping others through programs organized by place of worship. Political voluntarism is defined by how often respondent volunteered through organizations to bring about social change, such as civic or community action, working for a political party or advocacy group. Empirical literature reveals modest to tenuous relationships between homeownership and religious and political voluntarism. Tenure is a matter of choice. Use of a choice variable as a key independent variable in estimations leads to omitted variable bias. With this in mind, this study uses before and after comparisons with two waves of Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) data. The expectation is that estimating the relationship between homeownership and religious and political voluntarism may be less clouded by omitted time invariant variables. Weaknesses of the study include limited time span of data, and certain weaknesses in variables. This study finds very little evidence of statistically significant relationships between homeownership and citizenship as measured by religious and political voluntarism given data at hand, variables used, and estimations based on before-and-after comparisons. Future research may include monitoring PSID for future voluntarism variables. Alternatively, other datasets such as the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Study (CPS), titled Volunteering in the U.S. may be used to verify results. The implication of this study is that individual community participation as measured by religious and political voluntarism is not stifled by tenure decisions. Given this dataset and the techniques used here, the assumption that homeowners are better citizens resulting from increased religious and political voluntarism is unfounded.