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The incidence of UK housing benefit: evidence from the 1990s reforms

Gibbons, Stephen ORCID: 0000-0002-2871-8562 and Manning, Alan ORCID: 0000-0002-7884-3580 (2006) The incidence of UK housing benefit: evidence from the 1990s reforms. Journal of Public Economics, 90 (4-5). pp. 799-822. ISSN 0047-2727

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2005.01.002


This paper estimates the incidence of the most important UK rent subsidy, housing benefit (HB). It exploits changes to housing benefit in 1996 and 1997 that reduced the maximum subsidy payable. The research design is based on the fact that the changes only applied to new claimants and not to pre-existing claimants. We use difference-in-differences to estimate the size of the treatment effect. We show that the changes did have an effect on the level of housing subsidy with an estimated fall of 10–15% in benefit receipt in the treatment group relative to the control group. There is also evidence that rents paid fell by 6–11%. We find no evidence this can be explained by a fall in housing consumption by the treatment group. Our estimates imply that between 60% and two-thirds of the incidence of the subsidy reduction was on landlords.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2006 Elsevier
Divisions: Centre for Economic Performance
Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
JEL classification: R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R3 - Production Analysis and Firm Location > R31 - Housing Supply and Markets
H - Public Economics > H2 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue > H22 - Incidence
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2008
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2024 18:15

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