Centre for Vocational Education Research LSE RSS Email Facebook Twitter


CEP discussion paper
The Incidence of UK Housing Benefit: Evidence from the 1990s Reforms
Stephen Gibbons and Alan Manning
December 2003
Paper No' CEPDP0597:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: H22; R31

Tags: housing subsidies; tax incidence

Housing Benefit (HB) in the UK subsidizes the rent of tenants in both the private and public sectors. Its share in total welfare benefits has risen markedly through time and there is widespread dissatisfaction with it. But, reform has been very slow. One important issue is the extent to which the incidence of HB is actually on the tenants. Exploiting two data sets from the mid-1990s when the subsidy regime changed for some tenants but not for others, this paper explores the incidence. We find that some of the incidence is on landlords though our two data sets differ in the extent to which this is true. We also find evidence in support of a ¿matching¿ model of the rental market rather tha n a perfectly competitive one.