Northwestern Events Calendar


Political Backlash Against Financialized Housing Markets

When: Friday, March 31, 2023
3:00 PM - 4:30 PM CT

Where: Scott Hall, Room 212, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student

Contact: Ariel Sowers   (847) 491-7454

Group: Department of Political Science

Category: Academic


Please join the Comparative Historical Social Sciences and the Comparative Politics Workshop as they host Andreas Wiedemann, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Abstract: Corporate investors in residential real estate have become salient targets of the political backlash against unaffordable housing. In this paper, we argue that this backlash is not only about narrow economic self-interest such as rising rents; it reflects a fundamental rejection of "financialized capitalism" that turns housing as a necessity into a financial asset. We substantiate our argument in three ways. We first document that neighborhood-level support for the historic 2021 Berlin referendum to expropriate corporate landlords is driven by financialized real estate transactions rather than rent hikes. We then show, using a nationwide representative survey, that German citizens conceptualize housing as a social right and hold the government responsible for its under-provision. Finally, we demonstrate experimentally that discontent with financialized housing markets rather than mere rent increases motivates support for expropriation. Our findings suggest that financialized capitalism can unite diverse parts of the electorate in favor of housing socialism.

Andreas Wiedemann is an Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs. He studies the comparative political economy of advanced democracies with a focus on economic inequality, representation, and political behavior. His book, Indebted Societies: Credit and Welfare in Rich Democracies (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics), examines the political causes behind the rise of credit as a private alternative to the welfare state and the political consequences for economic insecurity and social solidarity. Indebted Societies won the 2022 William H. Riker Book Award for the best book in political economy and the 2022 Best Book on Class and Inequality Award, both from the American Political Science Association. Wiedemann's other work has been published in the American Journal of Political Science and the British Journal of Political Science. His research work has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the John Fell Fund, the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, and the Data-Driven Social Science Initiative, among others.

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