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Segregation, Choice Based Letting and Social Housing: How Housing Policy Can Affect the Segregation Process

  • van Ham, Maarten


    (Delft University of Technology)

  • Manley, David


    (University of Bristol)

In this chapter we investigate the process of ethnic minority segregation in English social housing. Successive governments have expressed a commitment to the contradictory aims of providing greater choice – through the introduction of choice based letting – for households accessing an increasingly marginalised social housing sector whilst also expressing a determination to create more mixed communities and neighbourhoods. We consider the concept of choice in the context of a heavily residualised social housing sector, arguing that, for social housing tenants at least, the concept of real choice is a misnomer. We draw on research that has utilised unique administrative data and analysed the moves of all entrants into and movers within the social renting sector over a ten year period in England. The conclusion is that the introduction of choice based letting has influenced the residential outcomes of ethnic minorities and resulted in highly structured neighbourhood sorting that has segregated minority populations into the least desirable neighbourhoods of English cities.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6372.

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Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Christopher D Lloyd, Ian Shuttleworth and David Wong (eds.), Social-Spatial Segregation: Concepts, Processes and Outcomes, The Policy Press, 2014
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6372
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  1. Schelling, Thomas C, 1969. "Models of Segregation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(2), pages 488-93, May.
  2. Ron Johnston & Deborah Wilson & Simon Burgess & Richard Harris, 2006. "School and Residential Ethnic Segregation:An Analysis of Variations across England’s Local Education Authorities," The Centre for Market and Public Organisation 06/145, Department of Economics, University of Bristol, UK.
  3. Yannis M. Ioannides & Jeffrey E. Zabel, 2000. "Neighborhood Effects and Housing Demand," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0012, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  4. Maarten van Ham & Peteke Feijten, 2008. "Who wants to leave the neighbourhood? The effect of being different from the neighbourhood population on wishes to move," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 40(5), pages 1151-1170, May.
  5. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R. & Scafidi, Benjamin, 2002. "Black Self-Segregation as a Cause of Housing Segregation: Evidence from the Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 366-390, March.
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