Housing and welfare states

Stuart Lowe

in The Housing Debate

Published by Policy Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9781847422736
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305514 | DOI:
Housing and welfare states

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Housing was neglected in the comparative welfare state literature until very recently. The reason for this appears to relate to some of ‘housing's’ characteristics, particularly that it is found mostly in the private sector, unlike other welfare services. The significance of housing and its critical connection to welfare states was first recognised and explained by Kemeny. Discoveries made by Esping-Andersen showed that there were different types of welfare states in modern capitalist societies. Kemeny's analysis suggests that different housing systems can also be identified, especially those that either promote open, liberal housing markets in which home ownership predominates, or ‘social market’ economies, such as Germany, where housing is not thought of as a commodity but as a social right. The creation of ‘deep’ mortgage markets following the deregulation of banking in the 1980s has connected homeowners to the flow of global capital and impacted on voters' attitudes to taxation and spending on public services. Through the advances made in this work, housing has taken its rightful place as a key feature of how we think about and define twenty-first century welfare states.

Keywords: welfare state regimes; integrated rental markets; corporatism; social markets; mortgage markets; post-communism; decommodification

Chapter.  10485 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Urban and Rural Studies

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