Market and Nonmarket Pathways to Home Ownership and Social Stratification in Hybrid Housing Regimes: Evidence from Four Post-Soviet Countries by Theodore P. Gerber, Jane R. Zavisca, and Jia Wang (2023)

American Journal of Sociology, Volume 128, Number 3

Abstract: Sociological research on housing inequality overlooks how the predictors and benefits of home ownership vary by pathway to ownership. The market pathway (purchase) is more associated with ascribed and achieved status characteristics linked to income and with higher housing satisfaction, greater subjective housing-related autonomy, and better housing quality. Nonmarket pathways (primarily, transfers from relatives or the state) are related to the longevity of parents and (in more patriarchal countries) gender. Such variations in the stratifying role of home ownership are theoretically derived and empirically confirmed in analyses of Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan, where privatization of state-owned housing produced hybrid housing regimes featuring widespread private ownership but limited market purchases. These case studies foreground pathways to ownership as an important source of heterogeneity, relate aspects of well-being other than wealth to home ownership, and highlight market allocation as a key mechanism linking home ownership to other dimensions of inequality.