16 Jan 19 | News

LISER awarded three multi-annual thematic (CORE) research projects

Thematics covered include: property wealth concentration, household time choices and well being in affordable housing

The Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) awarded LISER three CORE research projects.

CORE is the central programme of the FNR. A multi-annual thematic research programme, the prime objective of CORE is to strengthen the scientific quality of Luxembourg’s public research in the country’s priority research domains:

  • Innovation in Services (IS)
  • Sustainable Resource Management in Luxembourg (SR)
  • New Functional and Intelligent Materials and Surfaces and New Sensing Applications (MS)
  • Biomedical and Health Sciences (BM)
  • Societal Challenges (SC)

The projects awarded to LISER are:

The Effects of Affordable Housing on Subjective Well-being (A-HOUSE)

Project Summary: The A-HOUSE project has three goals. First, it will explore the determinants of residential satisfaction (RS) in affordable housing (AH). Second, it will bring new evidence on how RS of people living in AH affects their global life satisfaction (LS) as a cognitive component of subjective well-being (SWB). Third, this project will identify the differences between the stakeholders’ and individuals’ perception of the determinants of RS, and it will offer solutions to mitigate the divergences. A-HOUSE will take a case-study approach and focus on Luxembourg, which faces a number of challenges related to dynamic population growth and a widening imbalance between housing demand and supply.

A-HOUSE will develop a multi-item RS in AH Scale (RSAHS) including objective indicators and subjective evaluations of housing attributes (related to dwelling and neighbourhood). It will add to the literature on RS and LS by exploring the role of housing-related lifestyles, house-related empowerment and RS-LS relation. It will also provide new evidence on how affective components (AC) influence RS in AH and LS. By taking a transdisciplinary approach, A-HOUSE will inform policy-makers and reflect on possible improvements of existing AH models and the introduction of new ones. To this end, A-HOUSE will adopt a mixed-methods approach and triangulate the findings of the following analyses:

(1) Participatory modelling involving eight local stakeholders (policy-makers, developers, practitioners, NGO’s, academics) aiming to build the stakeholders’ conceptual model of relationships between attributes of existing AH and RS;

(2) 16 in-depth biographical interviews with beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of AH representing different household types, to understand which housing attributes bring higher levels of RS (using a means-end chain model framework);

(3) Structural equation modelling based on a large-scale housing survey (co-funded by the Ministry of Housing) to estimate multiple interrelated equations, reflecting complexity of relationships between the variables (attributes of AH, levels of RS, LS and AC) in the conceptual model showing the mechanisms of individual RS and LS.

Duration:  34 months

Main LISER researchers:

  • Magdalena Gorczynska (principal investigator)
  • Agnieszka Walczak
  • Veronique Van Acker
  • Julien Licheron
  • Patrick Bousch
  • Data Manager
  • Student Assistant (to be recruited)

Local scientific advisor: Antoine Decoville (LISER)

External researcher: Nattavudh Powdthavee (Mentor) Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School, UK)

Advisory board: 

  • Prof. Conchita d’Ambrosio (Université du Luxembourg)
  • Prof. Sarah Atkinson (University of Durham, UK)
  • Dr. Francesco Sarracino (STATEC, Luxembourg)

Time: too little, too late or too lone? Theoretical, empirical and experimental investigation of time choices (TIMING)

Project Summary: Today’s individuals and families are swayed by shortness of time. While policy makers are acting to alleviate this, for example by implementing generous parental leaves, recent studies show that shorter workweeks do not necessarily improve work-life balance. TIMING conjectures that the effectiveness of such policies depends not only on the trade-offs between the amount of work and leisure but also on the precise timing of these activities. Timing matters especially within the household due to its implications for togetherness, the time spouses spend jointly on work, child rearing, leisure or other activities.

TIMING focuses on two prominent aspects of timing: the synchronization of work and non-work activities between spouses (for example, work alone or work together) and the positioning of these activities in the timeline (for example, work now or work later). Both aspects are under-researched in economics. While empirical evidence shows that couples favor spending time together, most models of family time use treat time as a private resource that each household member uses independently. While humans often exhibit time inconsistencies in lab experiments, most models of intertemporal choice focus on impatience (leisure is mostly preferred now and work is mostly preferred later) and preclude other types of intertemporal behavior. We are unaware of any research that combines the two aspects of timing together.

TIMING seeks to produce three research papers (WP1-WP3) and one policy report (WP4) that incorporate timing into the study of household behavior. WP1 develops a collective household model for home production, market work and leisure, in which time use can be joint (togetherness) or independent. We define and quantify the costs and benefits of different uses of time using data from the Dutch Longitudinal Internet Studies for the Social sciences (LISS). WP2 develops a model of intertemporal choice consistent with alternative types of household time preferences such as impatience, anticipation, and adaptation. We derive testable conditions to distinguish among the different modes of time behavior using data from the Spanish Encuesta Continua de Presupuestos Familiares (ECPF). WP3 ties together togetherness from WP1 and time preferences from WP2 to investigate which preferences prevail in situations where the two dimensions may conflict. To the best of our knowledge this is not possible with an existing set of data, so we design a lab experiment to elicit choices of couples in such an environment. Based on the knowledge from WP1-WP3 and data from Luxembourg’s Conditions de Travail et Qualité de Vie au Travail (QVT), we calibrate a lifecycle model for family time allocation in WP4 and infer the likely implications of three recent labor market and family-related policies in Luxembourg when timing is explicitly considered. We pay attention to a new law on the organization of working time (Legislation No.271; 27/12/2016) that increases the requirement for work outside regular hours.

Although time underlies many important aspects of life, such as family labor supply and lifecycle behavior, most economic models of household behavior abstract from it. TIMING seeks to fill this gap by bridging the household labor supply and time use literatures. Filling this gap is essential for our understanding of how modern labor market and family-related policies affect family welfare, female labor force participation, parental time, and other socioeconomic outcomes.

Duration:  36 months             

Main LISER researchers:

  • Sam Cosaert (principal investigator)
  • Alexandros Theloudis (co-principal investigator)
  • Bertrand Verheyden
  • Francesco Fallucchi

Local scientific advisor: Ludivine Martin (LISER)

External researchers:  

  • Prof. Daniel Hamermesh (Mentor)  Distinguished Scholar, Barnard College. Professor, University of Texas at Austin
  •  Tom Potoms, PhD candidate, Université Libre de Bruxelles

Territorial inequality: a study of the local mechanisms implicated in long run changes in property wealth concentration

Project Summary: This project is concerned with developing the notion of territorial (property wealth) inequality – that is, the way in which all of the land-plots and housing goods found in a given place are distributed among their owners. This notion allows for a new articulation of four research domains in economics, geography and sociology that have rarely been combined: wealth inequality in the long run, the intergenerational transmission of income and wealth, the links between housing and wealth and processes of neighbourhood change. The notion of territorial inequality entails a shift in the focus of wealth research from individual trajectories to the local mechanisms responsible for the changing concentration of the ownership of land plots and housing. This is made possible by the first systematic analysis of a unique dataset: statements detailing transfers of property ownership sent to the Land Registry by notaries in Luxembourg between 1949 and 2015. The case study is Dudelange, a formerly industrial, medium sized city in which house prices have increased rapidly since the 1990s due to its proximity to the capital. The information in these records makes it possible to:

(1) Assess the degree of concentration in the ownership of all land plots and apartments in the study area and to track its evolution over time;

(2) Compare this concentration and its evolution for two types of groupings of owners: the individual/couple and the dynasty (the extended, multi-generational family);

(3) Shed light on two mechanisms which affect this level of concentration in a given geographical area over time:
     a) Asymmetrical transfers (or the transfer of land plots between groupings of different wealth classes);
     b) Spatially uneven price changes (or price movement differences in zones which concentrate the holdings of groupings of different wealth classes).

This project thus proposes a new way to think about property wealth inequality: the focus here is the land plots that make up a territory and the way in which they are distributed among groupings of people. This new approach to wealth inequality, based on a complete and geo-referenced history of a territory’s ownership structure, has the potential to put geography in the spotlight of wealth inequality research. This exploratory project privileges depth over breadth, with work on a broader set of municipalities planned as a follow-up project.

Duration:  24 months             

Main LISER researcher:

  • Antoine Paccoud (principal investigator)