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The Institute’s key research themes
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Businesses are crucial to solving
the UK’s productivity problems.


Addressing the Net-Zero and productivity challenges: How could the housing sector play a key role?

This project aims to increase understanding of the ways in which the housing sector manages the confluence of three major policy challenges: productivity, net-zero, and affordable housing. Each challenge, in isolation, cannot be addressed without the others playing a role. While the ‘win-win’ narrative suggests that all three could be managed synergistically, this project uncovers under what conditions this might be the case and when not. The project proposes how changes in the policy framework and incentives could help unlock the business model innovations needed to achieve a sea change in the housing sector.

Addressing the UK productivity puzzle overall cannot ignore the challenge of productivity enhancement of the housing sector because of the significant increase in the levels of investment required to both retrofit existing homes to meet net-zero targets and to increase the output of new homes to meet housing targets. While productivity-enhancing technologies, such as automation, artificial intelligence and data analytics, have been heralded for their potential to transform many industrial sectors, their implementation in the housing sector is lagging, potentially leaving its productivity levels falling further behind other sectors. Thus, the sector faces profound productivity challenges across the board.

Project lead Jonatan Pinkse (The University of Manchester)

Collaborators Graham Winch (The University of Manchester), Suzanne Peters (The University of Manchester)

The University of Manchester