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Housing Differentiation Under Market Transition in Nanjing, China*

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Based on a large-scale household survey conducted in Nanjing in 2005, this study examines housing differentiation between and within groups defined by different socioeconomic characteristics and analyzes institutional and market determinants of housing differentiation under market transition. It is worth noting that, although the degree of housing differentiation between different socioeconomic groups is high, the differentiation within each group is even more significant. This suggests an intensified housing differentiation in the Chinese city. Institutions inherited from the socialist period and the emerging market mechanisms are intertwined to contribute to housing differentiation after the introduction of housing reform. In the postreform era, whereas some institutional factors were weakened, other institutional factors such as the hukou system and the work unit system continue to be significant. Furthermore, similar to other postsocialist countries, the pattern of housing inequality in prereform China remains and even consolidates after economic reforms; that is, vested groups continue to enjoy better housing conditions under a market economy, and the disadvantaged groups are entrapped in a housing predicament. Nevertheless, market factors have also become decisive, which is mainly reflected in the significant housing differentiation between groups categorized by educational attainment and household income.
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Keywords: Nanjing; diferenciación habitacional; housing differentiation; housing reform; institución; institution; market transition; reforma habitacional; transición de mercado

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: South China University of Technology, 2: Sun Yat-Sen University, 3: Cardiff University,

Publication date: November 1, 2012

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