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Where to house the poor? The role of public housing in Sweden 1993-2012
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Human Geography.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9214-0152
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Increasing concerns have been raised about the tendency for the public housing sector in Sweden to become dominated by low-income households, thus undergoing a process of residualisation. If this is happening, the universal character of municipal housing companies offering decent housing for all income groups is challenged. The aim of this paper is to describe and analyse the magnitude of residualisation and to discuss possible implications for the Swedish housing model using a novel Index of Residualisation and longitudinal register data covering the period 1993-2012. The results indicate that the rental sector as a whole is undergoing a process of residualisation, but that there are clear variations in the magnitude of residualisation across types of municipalities. This might suggest that well-off households have turned to private ownership. The process of residualisation is most pronounced in sparsely populated regions. The relative size of the public rental sector is a key factor to consider in order to understand the diverging trends. Regions with smaller rental sectors are associated with higher levels of residualisation, indicating that public housing may have the function of social housing in these regions.

Keywords [en]
residualisation, public housing, Sweden, Index of residualisation, regions, poverty
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Geography with Emphasis on Human Geography
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-158748OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-158748DiVA, id: diva2:1238440
Available from: 2018-08-13 Created: 2018-08-13 Last updated: 2018-08-27Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Housing, poverty and the welfare state: Spatial distribution of tenure types and its effects on housing deprivation, unemployment and residualisation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Housing, poverty and the welfare state: Spatial distribution of tenure types and its effects on housing deprivation, unemployment and residualisation
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

An important question that has caused much academic debate is how to best organise the welfare state system to combat poverty and social exclusion. Much such research is focused on how to combat income poverty through core areas in the welfare state. This dissertation widens the perspective to include housing as a part of the welfare state and it represents an attempt to study poverty outcomes beyond income measures. In doing this, the dissertation uses power resource theory to understand welfare state change and the design of institutions in terms of housing tenures, and shows how this design might affect individual outcomes. Thus, the overall aim of this dissertation is to gain knowledge of the principles that underpin the design and organisation of the housing market in terms of tenure types and to understand the ways in which this design might affect the well-being of individuals and the society as a whole. The dissertation consists of an introductory essay and four papers. The introductory essay presents my theoretical approach and methodology. It also summarises the papers and discusses my main findings.

Paper I analyses the extent to which the organisation of the rental sector may explain cross-national differences in the prevalence of housing deprivation. Using a multilevel framework on survey data covering 26 European countries, I find that a large and integrated rental sector significantly reduces the prevalence of housing deprivation across EU countries. The organisation of the rental sector appears to be crucial when it comes to reducing poverty and social exclusion in terms of housing insufficiencies.

Paper II continues the quest to find explanations of the variations in the prevalence of housing deprivation in Europe. Our results develop the findings of Paper I. We find that a high proportion of outright owners is positively associated with housing deprivation. This is suggested to reflect the historical and political processes that affect the housing markets in eastern and southern European housing regimes.

Paper III investigates a puzzle regarding the relationship between the extent of home-ownership and unemployment. At the macro level, more home-owners indicate higher unemployment rates, while home-owners in general are less unemployed. What can explain this? In this paper, we show that regions with high home-ownership also tend to be regions with small labour markets, which affects the efficiency of matching on the labour market.

Paper IV turns to the process of residualisation, a process which can be described as when the public or social rental sectors become dominated by low-income households. For Sweden, this process is of key interest since the public housing sector aims to be universal and is not directed towards any specific income group. The results indicate a clear trend towards increasing residualisation. The trend is most pronounced in sparsely populated municipalities, while the public rental sector is quite mixed in larger cities and municipalities near larger cities.

This dissertation offers a contribution to the field of housing by showing that power resource theory may be used to understand institutional design in terms of tenure types, and that this design also affects individual outcomes. Moreover, power resource theory is presented as a viable theory to understand geographical variation in institutional design across and within countries.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University, 2018. p. 87
Series
Meddelanden från Kulturgeografiska institutionen vid Stockholms universitet, ISSN 0585-3508 ; 155
Keywords
housing, tenure types, welfare state, power resource theory, housing deprivation, unemployment, residualisation, Europe, Sweden
National Category
Human Geography
Research subject
Geography with Emphasis on Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-159348 (URN)978-91-7797-368-3 (ISBN)978-91-7797-369-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-10-12, Ahlmannsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 4: Manuscript.

Available from: 2018-09-19 Created: 2018-08-27 Last updated: 2018-09-12Bibliographically approved

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