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Unformatted text preview: Urban Studies, Vol. 39, No. 1, 7–32, 2002 Housing Tenure Choice in Transitional Urban China: A Multilevel Analysis Youqin Huang and William A. V. Clark [Paper rst received, September 2000; in nal form, April 2001] Summary. Using a 1996 national survey of housing in China and a multilevel modelling technique, we examine housing tenure choice in transitional urban China where households have been granted limited freedom of choice in the housing market since the housing reforms of 1988. We nd that both market mechanisms and institutional forces affect households’ tenure choice in urban China. While some socioeconomic factors such as age, household size, household income and housing price have similar effects on tenure choice as in the West, others such as the number of workers and marital status have rather different effects. In addition, factors characterising institutional relationships among the state, work units and households, such as hukou , job rank and work unit rank, still play important roles in tenure choice. Since the 1980s, most sot economies have been in a process of transition and studies of transitional economies have be- come major topics in economics, geography, sociology and political science. Compared with the ‘shock therapy’ in eastern European countries and the USSR, the transition in China has been gradual and evolutionary (McMillan and Naughton, 1996). As part of the transition to a market economy, housing reform in urban China was launched nation- wide in 1988. It aims to introduce market mechanisms to a heavily subsidised housing system and to transform housing from a wel- fare good to a commodity. To ensure a smooth transition, a dual system with ‘new policies for the new housing stock, old meth- ods for the old housing stock’ ( xin fang xin zhi du, lao fang lao bai fa ) has been central to housing policies (State Council, 1998). While a housing market is emerging, the sot forces in the housing system—such as the housing subsidies by work units—per- sist. It is this side-by-side combination of market mechanisms and institutional forces that creates the transitional nature of China’s current housing system and sets a unique context within which households make tenure choices. Urban households in China, who had few housing choices but to wait for sub- sidised rental housing (also ‘public housing’, gong fang ) in the sot era, now have choices regarding both housing type and Youqin Huang is in the Department of Geography and Urban Planning , State University of New York, Albany, NY 12222 , USA. Fax: 518 442 4742. E-mail: [email protected] . William A. V. Clark is in the Department of Geography , University of California , Los Angeles, 1255 Bunche Hall, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles , CA 90095-1524 , USA. Fax: 310 206 5976....
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