Trade & Development Workshop with Michael B. Wong (HKU, former MIT)

The Design of Public Housing Programs: Evidence from Hong Kong
Wed, 7 June, 2023 2:00pm - 3:30pm

Our guest will be Michael B. Wong (HKU, former MIT)


When designing public housing programs, governments must choose whether to rent or
sell, whether to conduct regular income checks, and whether to allow transfer of sold units.
This paper analyzes how the transferability and contingency of occupancy rights granted
to public housing participants affect program efficiency and targeting. Specifically, I study 
Hong Kong’s Tenants Purchase Scheme, which converted 120,000 rental units into own-
ership units with transfer restrictions. Leveraging its staggered roll-out between 1998 and 
2006, I show that the scheme reduced household sizes and increased incomes in treated 
estates, did not reduce misallocation, and likely worsened targeting of low-income households.

This seminar will be in-person.

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Open to everyone.

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