Are home owners really happier then renters?
That’s according to a paper by Grace Wong of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, which was based on pre-housing meltdown data.
An interesting portrait of homeowners emerges from my analysis. I find little evidence that homeowners are happier by any of the following definitions: life satisfaction, overall mood, overall feeling, general moment-to-moment emotions (i.e., affect) and affect at home. Several factors might be at work: homeowners derive more pain (but no more joy) from both their home and their neighborhood. They are also more likely to be 12 pounds heavier, report lower a lower health status and poorer sleep quality. They tend to spend less time on active leisure or with friends. The average homeowner reports less joy from love and relationships. She is also less likely to consider herself to enjoy being with people. Contrary to popular belief, I do not find significant differences in family-related time use patterns, family-related affect, number of normal work hours, indicators of stress or measures of self-esteem and perceived control of life by homeownership. My findings suggest that unadjusted differences along these dimensions might have played a role in establishing the related popular beliefs. Overall, these results point to negative feelings (pain) and lifestyle choices related to homeownership, although less healthy individuals might have self-selected to be homeowners. The results are robust after controlling for reported financial stress. If there exists strong heterogeneity in the enjoyment of homeownership and households who are more likely to derive more happiness from homeownership in fact self-select to become homeowners, my estimates of the well-being differences from a cross-sectional comparison can be seen as upper bounds of the true positive differences.