Homeownership, regime support, and civic engagement in four post-Soviet societies
Ted Gerber, Professor of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was invited to present his paper "Homeownership, regime support, and civic engagement in four post-Soviet societies" at another session of the ICSID and CSDSI Research Seminar on Diversity and Development. The seminar took place on December 12, 2017, and, as always, was held jointly with the HSE seminar “Political Economy”.
Abstract: The mass privatization of housing was one of the most dramatic elements of the transformation of post-Soviet societies following the collapse of the USSR. However, the potential long-term consequences of the rapid creation of a large contingent of homeowners have not been fully appreciated or studied empirically. The growing scholarly literature that examines the political and social effects of homeownership is based almost entirely on market economies, in which homeownership is closely tied to family wealth, income, and other aspects of socioeconomic status. Due to its sudden and relatively arbitrary nature, housing privatization in the former USSR provides a unique research opportunity to assess the validity and mechanisms of the effects of homeownership on political attitudes and civic engagement that are proposed in this literature. The lecture presents results from the 2015 Comparative Housing Experiences and Stratification Survey (CHESS), implemented in Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Kyrgyzstan. A range of analyses indicate that homeowners are more supportive of incumbent regimes, more civically engaged, and more politically active than non-homeowners in all four societies, with some variation by outcome.