April 22, 2020

Voting could be of least concern for Americans facing housing crisis, Purdue economist says

Note to Journalists: An election stock image and photograph of the professor are available to journalists via Google Drive.

WHAT: In the second week of April, housing prices began to stall and new listings dropped 47 percent compared with the same time last year, according to realtor.com. It’s part of the economic fallout of COVID-19, which has left 22 million Americans unemployed, and the upcoming general election might be the last thing on their minds, a Purdue University economist says.

EXPERT: Ben McCartney, an assistant professor in the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University, is an expert in household finance and voter participation. He has written about how financial stress during the housing crisis in 2009 disenfranchised roughly 800,000 potential voters in the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.

mccartney-ben Ben McCartney. (Courtesy photo) Download image

QUOTE: “My concern going forward is this story is going to repeat itself. Households hit hard by this crisis are going to turn to credit cards and short-term loans. Even if the economic ship is somewhat righted by November, a lot of households’ financial situations will have really deteriorated. And for financially distressed households, voting is something easy to just drop from the to-do list. The implications for voter turnout are worrying.”

MORE INFORMATION: McCartney is a faculty affiliate in the Purdue University Research Center in Economics.

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Writer: Joseph Paul, paul102@purdue.edu (working remotely but will provide immediate response)

Source: Ben McCartney, wmccartn@purdue.edu (available for phone and webcam interviews)


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