Conference Agenda

RN26_10: Places and local communities
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Volkan Yilmaz, Bogazici University
Location: GM.304
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road


All Around The House: Temporalities Of Activation In Local Housing Policy

Tommaso Frangioni

Università di Torino, Università di Firenze, Italy

While we often consider housing to be one of the least innovative sectors of welfare systems, the case of Torino permits to show the entanglements between different government levels (housing policy is designed locally, but it’s still reliant on national funds); public and private actors (policies that are reliant on private resources and know-how); and to deepen our comprehension of the relation between housing policy and activation, an emerging trend in the broader Italian welfare system. Housing is recognized as a relevant issue in strategic documents produced by Torino Municipality, leading to develop a discourse and a praxis where housing is a pivot around which social investment projects could be developed. So, the once called “wobbly pillar”, becomes embedded in a strategy of tailored policy design, focused on producing responsible and self-reliant citizens. I’d focus on the importance of time, as a constructed and ambiguous dimension at play in this field: evicted tenants are often marked by precarity, and the degree of discretion of street level bureaucrats (both in the public and in the private sector) heavily affects their perception of housing policy and its capacity to respond to their needs. At the same time, the interventions to support evicted tenants are mostly temporary in nature, and this temporariness is framed as a resource to develop activation in users. This narrative is harshly contested by the local housing movement which, paradoxically, offers a more stable time-frame to its “users”, while at the same enacting a logic of self-responsibility and activation itself. My fieldwork is based on interviews with both functionaries and street level bureaucrats, and on a period of observation in a local politic organization.

Is a Universal Non-contributory Social Pension Desirable and Feasible for China’s Rural Pension Scheme?

Ce Shen1, Jessica K.M. Johnson1, Zhenhe Chi2, John B. Williamson1

1Boston College; 2China Institute of Industrial Relations

China’s pension reform in the past three decades has allowed the majority of China’s population to be covered by at least one type of pension scheme. One cornerstone of the coverage expansion was the establishment of the New Rural Pension Scheme (NRPS) in 2009. Using recent (2013 and 2015) national-representative survey data and other government statistics, this study summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of China’s rural pension scheme. Although NRPS currently provides much needed income for many elderly people, it has serious limitations. The pension benefits are far below the government defined rural poverty line. When NRPS is viewed in the context of China’s over-all pension system, our analysis presents a dire picture of striking pension income inequality between rural and urban populations. Our data reveal, that the rural pensioners, though making up 62% of nation’s pension population, receive only 8% of the nation’s total pension benefits, approximately the same proportion received by the country’s civil servants who make up approximately 2% of China’s pensioner population. With more wealth and government pension spending going to high-income subgroups, the current pension system is a factor contributing to the current trend toward ever increasing income inequality. Compared with countries at similar levels of economic development, China's spending on pensions is very low. Our analysis leads us to propose the substitution of a universal non-contributory social pension to replace the current quasi-social pension component of NRPS, a reform that would help reduce both inequality and poverty while fostering social development in rural China.

Who Lives There Now? Differences In Affordability And Income Between Housing Tenure Groups In Europe

Stefan Angel

Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria

The discussion of housing policy in the overall social policy mix Europe gained a strong momentum in the 1980s and 1990s. In the dualistic rental system (Kemeny 1995), predominant in Anglo/liberal nations, the bulk of rental housing is provided in the private market whereas the social sector is reserved for low income households. The other type is referred to as integrated rental market where state-subsidized social housing is open to broad classes of the population. In this paper we do not look at eligibility rules but focus on the income structure of inhabitants.

Following Hoekstra (2009) we hypothesize, that the association between income and social housing should be stronger in dualist countries. Moreover, a decomposition of overall income inequality in a between- and within-tenure-group component should reveal whether residualization of the subsidized housing sector (Scanlon et al. 2014) is a general trend or different between housing regimes.

We use cross-sections from the SILC UDB 2004 to 2015 covering 20 European countries. We analyze the income structure for three groups: owners, tenants paying rent at a market rate, tenants paying a reduced rate. In a second step, we estimate country-specific regression models for the effect of income on the probability to be tenant in social housing, controlling for various socio-demographic variables. Third, we apply inequality decomposition methods.

Preliminary results show that the effect of income on the likelihood to reside in a dwelling with a reduced rate is still most articulated for countries traditionally assigned to Kemeny’s dualistic type of housing regime.

Work Based Welfare and New Social Services in the Rural Communities of Hungary

Judit Csoba, Florian Sipos

University of Debrecen, Hungary

The purpose of the presentation is to examine the transformation of the welfare paradigm and to analyze the consequences of the welfare state transformation on the local communities. With extensive centralization of welfare services in Hungary, the former welfare functions of the local governments disappeared. It is no longer a local responsibility to support the welfare of disadvantaged social groups and to organize the traditional welfare services for them (such as social benefits family care, etc.), nor the resources are locally available for it. In the ‘work based’ society model of Hungary, the local governments are under pressure to organise the economic activities of citizens and to move from a social service-oriented approach to an entrepreneurial one on community level. It is demanded by the state to create of a self-sustaining village or a ‘village company’, and to also involve the most disadvantaged social groups in employment and self-care.

With the transformation of the welfare paradigm and the redefinition of the role expectations of local governments and mayors in Hungary, local actors in small villages of rural areas need new skills, knowledge, alternative programs, and innovative public services.

In the framework of two consecutive studies organized in the framework of two H2020 projects (InnoSI and CoSIE) we studied local economic development programs to answer what alternative public welfare/economic services can be developed and under which conditions can this new service type be successful. The present paper is based on an extensive empirical fieldwork involving 18 local communities and ca. 200 households. With the involvement of communities and households, a survey and 54 individual interviews were conducted in the past three years.