The Social Consequences of Housing
The social capital literature documents a connection between social connection and economic outcomes of interest ranging from government quality to economic growth. Popular authors suggest that housing and architecture are important determinants of social connection. This paper examines the connection between housing structure and social connection. We find that residents of large apartment buildings are more likely to be socially connected with their neighbors, perhaps because the distance between neighbors is lower in apartment buildings. Apartment residents are less involved in local politics, presumably because they are less connected with the public infrastructure and space that surrounds them. Street crime (robbery, auto theft) is also more common around big apartment buildings and we believe that this also occurs because of there is less connection between people in apartments and the streets that surround them.