Studies of housing systems lying in the ‘middle ground’ between state and market are subject to three important shortcomings. First, the widely used Esping-Andersen (EA) approach assesses only a subset of the key housing outcomes and may be less helpful for describing changes in housing policy regimes. Second, there is too much emphasis on tenure transitions, and an assumed close correspondence between tenure labels and effective system functioning may not be valid. Third, due attention has not been given to the spatial dimensions in which housing systems operate, in particular when housing policies have a significant devolved or localised emphasis. Updating EA’s framework, we suggest a preliminary list of housing system indicators in order to capture the nature of the housing systems being developed and devolved. We verified the applicability of this indicator system with the case of China. This illustrates clearly the need for a more nuanced and systematic basis for categorising differences and changes in welfare and housing policies
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