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Housing allocation under socialism: the Soviet case revisited
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Geography and Economic History, Economic and social geography. Södertörns högskola.
2013 (English)In: Post-Soviet Affairs, ISSN 1060-586X, Vol. 29, no 2, 173-195 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Social or public housing is an important component of the housing supply in most European countries. Nowhere, however, has the notion of social housing been taken as far as in the countries that formerly were ruled by socialist regimes, most notably the Soviet Union. For this reason, it may be argued that the development of theorizations on housing has much to learn from this large but inconclusively studied example. One of the avowed virtues of socialism was that the system, in theory, guaranteed its subjects equal rights to housing. That this was not quite the case is well known in the literature, but in fact no robust evidence to support this view (or the contrary) has been presented so far. Therefore, this paper's aim is to investigate the functioning of the Soviet system of housing allocation, assessing its claims to social equity and justice. Based on a detailed case study of about 3500 Soviet-era housing allocation decisions made in Daugavpils, Latvia, at five points in time covering various stages in the development of Soviet power (full coverage of decisions made in 1953, 1960, 1970, 1980, and January-April 1990), we illustrate how much living space was allocated to whom. In addition, we detail the characteristics of the waiting times involved. We apply both descriptive and regression methods on our data-set, making a significant contribution to what is known about the outcome of housing allocation under socialism and, at a more general level, under strictly supply-constrained conditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 29, no 2, 173-195 p.
Keyword [en]
Soviet Union, housing, housing allocation, socialism, housing inequalities
National Category
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-76818DOI: 10.1080/1060586X.2013.782685ISI: 000319740400004OAI: diva2:636993
Available from: 2013-07-15 Created: 2013-07-15 Last updated: 2013-11-29Bibliographically approved

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Gentile, Michael
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