Social housing reforms in England and Wales: A public choice evaluation

George A. Boyne*, Richard M. Walker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Public choice theory provides three main principles for the management of social housing: market structures should be competitive; organisations should be compelled to produce information on their efficiency and effectiveness; and large agencies should be disaggregated into smaller units. Social housing reforms in England and Wales have largely reflected these principles. However, it is difficult to establish the impact of public choice policies because data on housing performance are incomplete. Furthermore, the effects of housing reforms are clouded by a range of social and economic changes in the context of housing management. Nevertheless, the available evidence suggests that public choice principles have had contradictory effects: efficiency and responsiveness have improved, but equity has deteriorated. Thus judgements on public choice theory depend on the weight attached to these different dimensions of performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2237-2262
Number of pages26
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999


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