Essays on migration, home ownership and social integration in Ireland
Wijeratne, Mayadunnege Manaram Dinali
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This PhD thesis explores the interactions between migration, home ownership and immigrant integration in Ireland. The thesis is presented on a paper based model, the core of which consists of three empirical studies. The first study develops a simple framework for incorporating the demographic determinants of housing demand into a standard housing-demand model. It also augments the existing time-series and cross-national literatures with a cross-county panel on the Irish housing market. The second study explores the causal links from home ownership to community engagement. In the years prior to the recent economic crisis, Ireland experienced a large increase in its foreign-born population. We hypothesise that households headed by the foreign-born are less likely to own a home, thus potentially hindering the process of social integration. But also that home ownership can be differentially effective in fostering the integration of the foreign-born. We first explore the relationship between nativity and homeownership. We then explore the linkages from both home ownership and nativity to a measure of social capital based on volunteering in line with existing literature. We discuss the limitations of the cross-sectional analysis and the specific measure of social integration. The third study utilizes a panel data set and expanded measures of social capital. One concern with the cross-sectional analysis is that omitted individual level attributes could hinder the identification of the causal effects of home ownership and social capital, and also the identification of any differential effect for the foreign-born. The panel data allows us to control for unobserved individual-level effects. The data also allows us to expand the proxy indicators for social capital beyond the volunteering measure. The results are contrasted to the cross sectional findings. Overall, we find evidence to support the hypothesis that home ownership generates differential benefits for the social integration of the foreign-born, but the results are sensitive to the data set and social-capital measure used.
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