The Impact of Housing Subsidies on the Rental Sector: the French Example
Housing subsidies to tenants are a main tool for housing policy in France. They aim to limit the budget share of housing for eligible tenants or to improve their housing conditions for a given budget share. Despite the increasing budget allocated to housing subsidies since the end of the 1970s, the budget share of housing for low-income tenants has kept increasing, in particular in the private rental sector. We assess the impact of housing subsidies on price, quality and quantity in the private rental sector. To do so, we use an instrumental variable method based on a spatial discontinuity in the subsidy scheme. We show that housing subsidies had an inflationist impact in the 1990s and the 2000s. Besides, higher subsidies seem to have almost no effect on housing quality and to have no impact on the number of offered rental dwellings.