Housing as Welfare

How subsidized homeownership generates social mobility through wealth, voice, and dignity in India

Governments can help their citizens find shelter in a number of different ways, but there is something unique about helping households purchase a large, durable asset that they can use, rent, or sell as they wish. The support housing provides to families is in-kind, but when it is owned and can easily be bought or sold, its benefits approach those of pure income transfers. There are reasons to believe, moreover, that transfers made through housing may be more politically expedient than something like a basic income guarantee.

This book explores the idea of housing as welfare. The idea highlights the economic and political role housing can take in a government’s portfolio of policies, but it also broadens notions about what welfare programs can be and accomplish. I argue that subsidized homeownership helps even the poorest households build wealth, exercise their voice as citizens, and live with dignity–in both rural and urban areas. It is a powerful tool for social mobility.

Manuscript in progress, chapters available upon request