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  • 1.
    Westerdahl, Stig
    Malmö University, Faculty of Culture and Society (KS), Department of Urban Studies (US).
    Yield and the city: Swedish public housing and the political significance of changed accounting practices2021In: Critical Perspectives on Accounting, ISSN 1045-2354, E-ISSN 1095-9955, Vol. 80, article id 102161Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article discusses the role of accounting in the changes that the public housing sector in Sweden has undergone. Public housing has been the cornerstone of the welfare state, which perceived housing as a right for all. These housing policies have been challenged from the 1990s onwards, and new legislation introduced in 2011 forced the sector to further economise operations. Because observance of the new legislation supposedly relied on accounting practices, calculative practices became important. The yield metric, which originates in financial economics, became prominent due to its capacity to condense contradictory conditions and time into a single figure, thereby making assets comparable.

    A study comprising 44 interviews (46 interviewees) undertaken in 9 council-run public housing companies reveals the social impact of the introduced accounting practices. Results indicate that different understandings of the future can either (1) justify bringing residential holdings into a non-calculable sphere to secure political control or (2) result in counter calculations based on assumed future value increases on commercial investments. This vagueness of the notion of time influences the connection between accounting and governmentality and, ultimately, economisation processes since it opens up for political resistance and counter calculations

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