The last two decades have seen a marked growth in comparative research within the field of housing studies. This reflects the increasing globalisation of housing finance and therefore the interconnectedness of housing markets, growing interest among researchers and policy makers in learning from developments in other countries and the availability of more funding and better comparative data to support their endeavours.
Concurrently, comparative housing research has become more sophisticated, as research training has improved, the number of journals publishing this research has increased and researchers have become what one might call more ‘methodologically aware’.
However, despite these developments, there is no single volume book that deals with the distinct challenges that arise from comparative housing research, compared to other fields of comparative policy analysis. These challenges relate to spatial fixity of housing, its dual role as a consumption and investment good, and as the "wobbly pillar" of the welfare state, which is delivered using a complex mix of government and market supports.
This volume reflects on the significant methodological strides made in the comparative housing research field during this period. The book also considers the considerable challenges that remain if comparative housing research is to match the methodological and theoretical sophistication evident in other comparative social science fields and maps a route for this journey.
This book was published as a special issue of the International Journal of Housing Policy.
"Meaning and Measurement in Comparative Housing Research reflects the ongoing interest in comparative housing research, as well as ongoing efforts to reflect on and improve methodological approaches, and to draw on wider social science disciplines to work out new ways forward. After a decade’s neglect of method in comparative housing research, it is a welcome contribution." – Urban Studies, Sean McNelis, Swinburne Institute for Social Research, Australia
1. Introduction: Strengthening the Conceptual and Methodological Foundations of Comparative Housing Research Mark Stephens and Michelle Norris
2. Housing in the Welfare State: Rethinking the Conceptual Foundations of Comparative Housing Policy Analysis Tony Fahey and Michelle Norris
3. Comparative Housing Research: A ‘System-Embedded’ Approach Mark Stephens
4. A Qualitative Comparative Approach to the Role of Housing Equity in the Life Cycle Marja Elsinga
5. Demystifying Quantitative Methods in Comparative Housing Research: Dispelling the Myth of Black Magic Nick Horsewood
6. Comparative Process Tracing in Housing Studies Bo Bengtsson and Hannu Ruonavaara7. Ethnography and Comparative Housing Research Richard Ronald