A Comparative Political Economy of Housing Booms
The paper explores the politics behind residential property booms within most Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member states in the last decade. This paper first explores a framework for understanding the place of residential property markets within comparative and international political economy. It assesses the relevance of ‘varieties of capitalism’, ‘three worlds of welfare capitalism’ and, more broadly, ‘institutional complementarities’ approaches to mapping differences in residential property markets. It also considers the relevance of constructivist approaches to institutional change. Following this, the paper demonstrates how focusing on ‘institutional complementarities’ provides a great deal of analytical purchases in mapping why residential property booms have been more prominent in some OECD member states than others. Such mapping is vital, but not sufficient in understanding why those engaged with property markets have changed their per ception of how the economy should work; especially in how they view housing as a means to wealth creation or as a social right. This paper explores institutional changes to taxation regimes for property, which remain largely national, as well as financial deregulation trends, which are more transnational. The paper concludes by reflecting on the potential for the further ‘neo-liberalisation’ of residential property markets in the OECD, and what implications property booms have for broader understandings of ‘welfare trade-offs’.