Property-based welfare and the search for generational equality

Beverley A. Searle (Lead / Corresponding author), David McCollum

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    27 Citations (Scopus)
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    In many countries, the demographic shift towards an ageing population is occurring against a backdrop of welfare state restructuring. The paradigm of asset-based welfare may become increasingly central to these developments as individualised welfare is touted as part of the response to the challenge of funding the care of an ageing population. This article focuses on the framing of housing wealth as a form of asset-based welfare in the UK context. We consider the strengths and weaknesses of housing as a form of asset-based welfare, both in terms of equity between generations and equality within them. We argue that housing market gains have presented many homeowners with significant, and arguably unearned, wealth and that policy-makers could reasonably expect that some of these assets be utilised to meet welfare needs in later life. However, the suitability of asset-based welfare as a panacea to the fiscal costs of an ageing population and welfare state retraction is limited by a number of potential practical and ethical concerns.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)325-343
    Number of pages19
    JournalInternational Journal of Housing Policy
    Issue number4
    Early online date8 Sept 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


    • Asset-based welfare
    • Demographic change
    • Housing equity
    • Inter-generational justice
    • Wealth inequality
    • Welfare


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