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Modernisation, marketisation and housing reform: The use of evidence based policy as a rationality discourse


Jacobs, K and Manzi, T, Modernisation, marketisation and housing reform: The use of evidence based policy as a rationality discourse, People, Place and Policy Online, 7, (1) pp. 1-13. ISSN 1753-8041 (2013) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2013 the authors

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DOI: doi:10.3351/ppp.0007.0001.0001


Evidence based policy (EBP) has served as a persuasive rationale for government intervention; providing a framework for evaluation through techniques of comprehensive and systematic review, closely associated in the UK with the welfare reforms undertaken by the Blair and Brown led Labour governments. In this article, we show how EBP serves as a convenient device for governments to present policy-making to a wider public, gaining legitimacy through an appeal to technical rationality and thereby shielding from scrutiny the underlying ideologies and politics that constitute housing practice. Following a brief discussion of the emergence of an ‘instrumental’ turn in housing policy, we consider the deployment of evidence based rationalities using the examples of public housing stock transfer, the housing market renewal programme and the 2011 Localism Act as evidence to support our arguments. Our key claim is that whilst housing policy makers continue to promote EBP to justify decision making, the choices they pursue are best explained by factors largely unrelated to ‘evidence’; for example the relative power and influence of interest groupings both within government and beyond. We conclude with the suggestion that housing policy research requires a significant reorientation if it is to provide insights into aspects of policy making that remain under-examined.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Key words: evidence based policy, UK housing, stock transfer, housing market renewal,
Research Division:Built Environment and Design
Research Group:Urban and regional planning
Research Field:Urban analysis and development
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Other law, politics and community services
Objective Field:Other law, politics and community services not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Jacobs, K (Professor Keith Jacobs)
ID Code:85783
Year Published:2013
Deposited By:School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2013-08-07
Last Modified:2017-11-18
Downloads:6 View Download Statistics

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