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Introduction to ‘Housing’ Themed Issue

PFM, Vol. 6 No. 1, (2006)

Housing offers shelter, possible asset growth and a tax base for local services. A housing symposium would therefore seem consistent with the interests of this journal. Housing is central to all of our lives, playing an important role in growing living standards, quality of life and the distribution of resources. Careful comparative housing research offers considerable insights. From a policy perspective housing is an interesting sector because it is where many disputes about the relative merits of markets and non-market interventions are rehearsed. As a field of study housing permits a wide variety of approaches and methodologies, adding a depth and richness to our understanding. This paper considers the economics and governance aspects of housing and identifies key contemporary themes: individual household housing choice behaviour; housing’s role in the distribution of income and wealth; the economic governance and performance of social housing; and effective subsidy design to overcome market failures. All of these themes are further addressed in the following papers.

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