Earmarking space: Relationality, economic judgments and housing wealth

Adam S. Hayes*, Max Besbris

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Housing wealth is the single largest portion of household wealth in most Western societies today, yet little research has examined how individuals make decisions regarding the use of the housing wealth that they possess. In this article, we leverage insights from relational economic sociology to understand how individuals' subjective valuations and other economic judgments are influenced when space in a home is relationally earmarked. Using a series of original vignette experiments and survey tasks in conjunction with qualitative responses, we find that earmarking a room for a close social tie does indeed matter for valuation. Furthermore, we reveal that individual economic judgments are strongly influenced by different relational content associated with relational earmarks compared to a control. Put differently, we systematically show how modifying the constitution of an earmark strengthens or lessens the appropriateness of its match and prompts distinct patterns of economic decision-making. Our analyses extend relational economic sociology to studies of housing while also building intellectual bridges with research on judgment and decision-making (JDM).

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1445-1472
Number of pages28
JournalSocio-Economic Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press and the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics. All rights reserved.


  • D14
  • D91
  • G41
  • JDM
  • Z13
  • earmarking
  • economic sociology
  • housing
  • valuation


Dive into the research topics of 'Earmarking space: Relationality, economic judgments and housing wealth'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this