Privatization of public housing in Hong Kong : a policy evaluation

by La Grange, Adrienne

Abstract (Summary)
(Uncorrected OCR) Abstract of Thesis Entitled


submitted by

Adrienne La Grange

for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong

in February 1997

Hong Kong is popularly perceived to have one of the largest public rental housing programmes, relative to the size of its population. In 1987 the government presented the Long Term Housing Strategy, which outlined its proposals to privatize public housing on a large scale by 2001. Implementation of the strategy was envisaged to result in a significant sectoral redistribution of Hong Kong's housing stock, aided in large measure by the greater involvement of the private sector in public housing provision. The purpose of this study is to investigate the privatization of public housing in a rapidly expanding, mature Asian economy, in order to place Hong Kong's experience within the context of privatization as a global phenomenon. The objectives of this dissertation are to identify the causes, and evaluate and account for the performance of the Housing Authority's major privatization schemes. Three research questions are posed. The first deals with the reasons for the government's decision to formulate the privatization strategy. The second concerns the perfonnance of the policy, and the third seeks to account for the

policy's outcomes.

It was found that ideology and politics play a major role in accounting for the Housing Authority's decision to privatize its public housing. However, the LTHS reflected its twin concerns of meeting the demand for public rental housing as well as assisted home ownership. Politics and ideology have also articulated with financial considerations and the Authority's


desire to rationalize public housing resources. The privatization policy has enhanced the cost efficiency of providing public housing, although the opportunity cost of the policy to the government is high. It has implemented its major objectives to a significant degree, although it has had difficulty in persuading its wealthier tenants to vacate the rental sector in favour of home ownership, and has largely failed to involve the private sector in the provision of owner occupied housing. Notably, the impact of the policy on the broader equity of public housing has been quite minimal. There are few indications that the Housing Authority has sought to reduce its responsibility for public housing provision at the time of writing. The availability of affordable home ownership opportunities, namely its reliance on build-for-sale schemes, has determined the scale of the privatization policy. Yet the socio-economic heterogeneity of the major housing tenures, including the public rental sector, the preferences of public tenants to remain in public rental housing, and a supportive political milieu for the public rental programme, has meant that Hong Kong has not experienced the negative consequences of policies to privatize public housing that have occurred elsewhere. Arguably this reflects Hong Kong's position as a rapidly expanding, higher order services economy.

Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Hong Kong

School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:public housing government policy china hong kong privatization evaluation


Date of Publication:01/01/1997

© 2009 All Rights Reserved.