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Housing Allowances as Income Support: Comparing European Welfare Regimes


  • Julia Griggs
  • Peter A. Kemp


Most studies of housing allowances focus on their role in housing policy. In contrast, this paper examines housing allowances from an income support perspective. It utilises a modified version of Esping-Andersen's welfare regime typology to examine the income support role of means-tested housing allowances in the EU-15. Using secondary analysis of the 2007 EU-SILC dataset, it examines the prevalence, generosity, degree of targeting and impact on disposable incomes of housing allowances. It demonstrates that they vary both within and between welfare regimes. It also shows that housing allowances are not simply a liberal policy instrument, but are employed extensively within social democratic and conservative welfare regimes; and that they are not only focused on the poorest households. Hence, income-related, housing allowances do not fit the stereotype of means-tested benefits portrayed by Esping-Andersen (1990). Finally, the paper shows that housing allowances have a significant impact upon disposable incomes (after housing costs) and as such have an important income support function.

Suggested Citation

  • Julia Griggs & Peter A. Kemp, 2012. "Housing Allowances as Income Support: Comparing European Welfare Regimes," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(4), pages 391-412, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:intjhp:v:12:y:2012:i:4:p:391-412
    DOI: 10.1080/14616718.2012.711987

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    Cited by:

    1. Rik de Boer & Rosamaria Bitetti, 2014. "A Revival of the Private Rental Sector of the Housing Market?: Lessons from Germany, Finland, the Czech Republic and the Netherlands," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1170, OECD Publishing.

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