Mandatory savings, credit access and home ownership: The case of the housing provident fund

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Several Asian countries have established savings and loan programs called housing provident funds, which comprise of a voluntary or mandatory savings account and eligibility for discounted mortgage loans. This study evaluates the impact of a mandatory housing provident fund in China on home ownership using the China Health and Nutrition Survey from 1989 to 2009. The empirical results indicate that households enrolled in the program were more likely to own a home since the housing provident fund loans became available in 1998, and such difference was fully explained by the length of the enrolment history which was related to the housing provident fund loan benefits by program design. The success of the housing provident fund was in part attributable to its program designs that feature behavioural economics theories, such as automatic enrolment, mental accounting, and self-discipline. The empirical findings have implications for designing effective housing policies to promote home ownership.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3446-3463
Number of pages18
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number15
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017


  • Credit constraint
  • behavioural economics
  • home ownership
  • housing provident fund
  • mandatory savings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies

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