Inclusionary housing (IH) is a regulatory instrument adopted by local governments in many countries to produce affordable housing by capturing resources created through the marketplace. In order to assess whether it is efficient, scholarly attention has been widely focused on its evaluation. However, there is a lack of studies evaluating IH from a governance perspective. Since IH is about involving private actors in affordable housing production, the governance point of view of cooperating governmental and non-governmental actors governing society to achieve societal goals is highly relevant. The two most important elements of governance—actors and interrelationships among these actors—are taken to build an analytical framework to explore and evaluate the governance of IH. Based on a research approach that combines a literature review and a case study of China, this paper concludes that the ineffective governance of Chinese IH is based on three challenges: (1) The distribution of costs and benefits across actors is unequal since private developers bear the cost, but do not enjoy the increments of land value; (2) there is no sufficient compensation for developers to offset the cost; and (3) there is no room for negotiations for flexibility in a declining market. Given that IH is favored in many Chinese cities, this paper offers the policy implications: local governments should bear more costs of IH, rethink their relations with developers, provide flexible compliance options for developers, and perform differently in a flourishing housing market and a declining housing market.
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