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Is the housing allowance shifted to rental prices?

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  • Matti Viren

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Abstract

This paper deals with the incidence of housing subsidies, which we analyze using Finnish panel data. The main data set includes 50,000 households that received housing allowances during the period 2000–2008. In addition, we utilize repeated cross-sections of all Finnish households for 1989–2008, the annual sample exceeding 10,000. Estimation results suggest that a part of the subsidies will indeed go into rental prices. A conservative estimate of the size of the shift is one-third, but it is certainly possible that the number is as high as 50 %. On the other hand, the subsidy seems to have increased housing demand more than the subsidy-induced income effect would have implied, which is in accordance with the goals of the subsidy program. Our results seem to be consistent with other studies, which have also indicated relatively large rent effects. If this is indeed the case, we are advised to reconsider the need for reforming the system of housing subsidies, at least with respect to the share of costs that remains on households’ own accounts and the implicit indexation of the system. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Matti Viren, 2013. "Is the housing allowance shifted to rental prices?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(3), pages 1497-1518, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:44:y:2013:i:3:p:1497-1518
    DOI: 10.1007/s00181-012-0589-x
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00181-012-0589-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. le Blanc, David & Laferrere, Anne, 2001. "The Effect of Public Social Housing on Households' Consumption in France," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 429-455, December.
    2. Mark Bils & Peter J. Klenow, 2004. "Some Evidence on the Importance of Sticky Prices," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(5), pages 947-985, October.
    3. Matti Viren, 2009. "Does the Value-Added Tax Shift to Consumption Prices?," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 3(2), pages 123-142, July.
    4. Lyytikäinen, Teemu, 2006. "Rent Control and Tenants' Welfare: The Effects of Deregulating Rental Markets in Finland," Discussion Papers 385, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    5. Randal Verbrugge, 2008. "The Puzzling Divergence Of Rents And User Costs, 1980-2004," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 54(4), pages 671-699, December.
    6. Fack, Gabrielle, 2006. "Are housing benefit an effective way to redistribute income? Evidence from a natural experiment in France," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(6), pages 747-771, December.
    7. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    8. Aki Kangasharju, 2010. "Housing Allowance and the Rent of Low-income Households," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 112(3), pages 595-617, September.
    9. Susin, Scott, 2002. "Rent vouchers and the price of low-income housing," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 109-152, January.
    10. Laferrere, Anne & Le Blanc, David, 2004. "How do housing allowances affect rents? An empirical analysis of the French case," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 36-67, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Essi Eerola & Teemu Lyytikäinen, 2017. "Housing Allowance and Rents: Evidence from a Stepwise Subsidy Scheme," SERC Discussion Papers 0220, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Housing market; Income transfers; Incidence; Housing allowance; H22; I38; R28;

    JEL classification:

    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • R28 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Government Policy

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