Comparative analysis of social housing policies’ modernization impacts in selected post-socialist countries

Institute for Social Policy, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Croatia

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Prof. dr. sc. Gojko Bežovan

Co-supervisors Ivan Rimac, Institute for Social Policy, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, Croatia

Dr. ing. Gerard van Bortel, Assistant Professor of Housing Management, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TUD, Delft, Netherlands


Centre for Development of Non-Profit Organisations, Zagreb, Croatia

TU Delft, Netherlands

Research project

Post-socialist countries went through a radical transition process in the beginning of 1990s. As a result of this process, part of the state-owned housing stock was privatized and returned to the former owners. Consequently, the social rental sector became a residual tenure for the most vulnerable social groups.

Nowadays, income inequality has increased, unemployment is high, poverty and social exclusion are threatening, and insecurity is part of the everyday life. Most post-socialist countries in Central East Europe subsidized the home buyers through tax exemptions, interest rate subsidies, mortgage guarantees, and contract savings premiums, which contributed to reproduction of social inequality. Social housing programs in transitional countries with decentralised housing policies are too small and unsustainable to meet housing demands and depend on contributions from weak governments. In many of the transitional countries homeownership became the social norm. Intergenerational transfers through inheritance are the most important reproduction of home ownership. A new generation of tenants is emerging in larger cities, consisting of less skilled migrants with lower incomes and at risk of poverty and social exclusion. Affordability is the main problem for all housing regimes in the region.

The purpose of this research project is to identify the impacts of liberalization and europeanization of housing policies in Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia. The results will help to gain insights into the performance and efficiency of housing subsidies systems; to identify evidences on sustainable and affordable social rental housing as well as good practices on housing provision for vulnerable social groups; and to propose measures to prevent and solve emerging social risks by means of new housing policies.

->To conduct an individual research project, interlinked with the other ESRs projects, focusing on:
  • Understanding social housing theory as a part of social welfare system
  • Development of a framework for comparative analysis of national housing and local housing regimes in capitals- metropolitan areas
  • Development a framework for comparative analyse of social housing regimes as a part of social welfare system at national and capitals level
  • Evaluation of the performance and efficiency of housing subsidies systems
  • Assessment of sustainability and affordability of social rental housing
  • Analysis of good practices on housing provision for vulnerable social groups
  • Setting measures to prevent and solve emerging social risks with new housing policies
->To participate in the network-wide activities (workshops, summer schools, conferences)
->To carry out the training required by the PhD programme of the host university.

As part of the individual research project, ESRs will carry out two secondments, each of 2 months, in the partner organisations.

ESRs are expected to have completed a doctoral thesis that can be defended at the host institution within or shortly after the project lifetime.

Host university

Institute for Social Policy, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, is the leading national institution dealing with social development issues. The Institute applies an interdisciplinary approach in teaching, research and consultancy. It has a long experience of cooperation with relevant national and local stakeholders and also with other institutions in Central, Southeast and Western Europe, as well as in the USA. Through education, action oriented research and publications, the Institute influences public policies and provides know-how for public policy making for social policy issues, including: poverty and social integration, employment, third sector/civil society, social services, social innovations, social entrepreneurship, housing, urban development, pension policy, family policy, education, governance, regional development.

The Institute participated in two FP7 projects: “WILCO – Welfare Innovations in Favour of Cohesion“ and “TSI – Third Sector Impact“ which were dealing, among other, with the provision of housing for vulnerable social groups and the impact of third sector organisations on quality of life. It has also participated in several COST actions on social entrepreneurship (“Empowering the next generation of social enterprise scholars”), on social care (“Who cares in Europe”) and on innovations (SHINE – “Multi-disciplinary innovation for social change”). Recently, the Institute took part in the project “Service learning in the field of care for the homeless”, funded by the European Social Fund.

The Institute has a PhD programme on social policy and publishes regularly in the Croatian Journal of Social Policy.


Prof. Gojko Bežovan (

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