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The Inexorable Rise of the Rational Consumer? The Blair Government and the Reshaping of Social Housing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185 - 207
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of Housing Policy
Volume4 (2)
DatePublished - Aug 2004


The Blair government is implementing an ambitious agenda for the reform of the access, pricing and subsidy of social housing in England. This paper argues on the basis of available evaluation evidence that we should expect a muted response from consumers to the incentives created by these reforms. In this respect, the reforms are only likely to fulfil their apparent objectives in part. The paper notes some significant tensions within the reform agenda. The issue of how housing choice is modelled is highlighted as key. The paper argues that if we are serious about understanding the impact of these policy reforms on letting outcomes then we need to return to first principles and re-examine our understanding of housing market decision-making. It concludes by suggesting an alternative reading of current developments, focusing upon control.

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Publisher: Routledge

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