Housing Policy and Economic Power: The Political Economy of Owner Occupation

Housing Policy and Economic Power: The Political Economy of Owner Occupation

Housing Policy and Economic Power: The Political Economy of Owner Occupation

Housing Policy and Economic Power: The Political Economy of Owner Occupation

Excerpt

Owner occupation increasingly dominates housing provision and housing policy in most advanced capitalist countries. Although this book is specifically about owner occupation in Britain, the original impetus to start the research came from an interest in explaining such tenure shifts and their consequences in general terms. Traditional housing research places emphasis on the situation of housing consumers in different tenures and on state policy towards them. For a number of years I have felt such a narrow focus to be insufficient to explain the enormous changes in housing provision that have taken place over the past thirty years. Its inadequacies are indicated by the slow drying up of housing research and the increasing fragmentation and specialization of what remains during years when housing problems are growing in many countries.

Other researchers have recognized the unnecessary confines of the traditional approach. Two main alternatives have been tried. The first is a comparative one where the situation in different countries is examined over time. This approach has the advantage of demolishing certain accepted wisdoms by highlighting empirical situations in other countries where they do not hold. Yet ultimately, unless they question the consumer-orientation of traditional perspectives, cross-country comparisons just reproduce the early difficulties on a global scale. The problems are even compounded by having more data and questions to answer with no theoretically adequate means of dealing with them.

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