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Join the CCAS Department of Economics for an event featuring Michael B. Wong (HKU, former MIT), entitled "The Design of Public Housing Programs: Evidence from Hong Kong." Please sign up for the Economics Seminars Listserv to receive the details.


When designing public housing programs, governments must choose whether to rent or sell, whether to conduct regular income checks, and whether to allow transfer of sold units. This paper analyzes how the transferability and contingency of occupancy rights granted to public housing participants affect program efficiency and targeting. Specifically, I study Hong Kong’s Tenants Purchase Scheme, which converted 120,000 rental units into own- ership units with transfer restrictions. Leveraging its staggered roll-out between 1998 and 2006, I show that the scheme reduced household sizes and increased incomes in treated estates, did not reduce misallocation, and likely worsened targeting of low-income households.

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