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Skyscrapers and the Skyline: Manhattan, 1895-2004

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  • Jason Barr

Abstract

This article investigates the market for skyscrapers in Manhattan from 1895 to 2004. Clark and Kingston (1930) have argued that extreme height is a result of profit maximization, while Helsley and Strange (2008) posit that skyscraper height can be caused, in part, by strategic interaction among builders. I provide a model for the market for building height and the number of completions, which are functions of the market fundamentals and the desire of builders to stand out in the skyline. I test this model using time series data. I find that skyscraper completions and average heights over the 20th century are consistent with profit maximization; the desire to add extra height to stand out does not appear to be a systematic determinant of building height. Copyright (c) 2010 American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association in its journal Real Estate Economics.

Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 567-597

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Handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:38:y:2010:i:3:p:567-597

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  1. Grenadier, Steven R, 1995. "The Persistence of Real Estate Cycles," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 95-119, March.
  2. David Picken & Ben Ilozor, 2003. "Height and construction costs of buildings in Hong Kong," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(2), pages 107-111.
  3. Bar-Ilan, Avner & Strange, William C, 1996. "Investment Lags," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 610-22, June.
  4. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 1989. "The Efficiency of the Market for Single-Family Homes," NBER Working Papers 2506, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Titman, Sheridan, 1985. "Urban Land Prices under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 505-14, June.
  6. Benson, Earl D, et al, 1998. "Pricing Residential Amenities: The Value of a View," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 55-73, January.
  7. Tony McGough & Sotiris Tsolacos, 1999. "Interactions within the Office Market Cycle in Great Britain," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 18(1), pages 219-232.
  8. Hansen, Lars Peter & Sargent, Thomas J., 1980. "Formulating and estimating dynamic linear rational expectations models," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 7-46, May.
  9. Jim Clayton, 1996. "Rational Expectations, Market Fundamentals and Housing Price Volatility," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 24(4), pages 441-470.
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Cited by:
  1. Hans R. A. Koster & Piet Rietveld & Jos N. van Ommerren, 2011. "Is the Sky the Limit? An Analysis of High-Rise Office Buildings," SERC Discussion Papers 0086, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  2. Tom Nicholas & Anna Scherbina, 2013. "Real Estate Prices During the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 41(2), pages 278-309, 06.
  3. Jason Barr, 2011. "Skyscrapers and Skylines: New York and Chicago, 1885-2007," Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark 2011-001, Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark.
  4. Jason Barr, 2012. "Skyscraper Height," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 723-753, October.
  5. Jason Barr & Bruce Mizrach & Kusum Mundra, 2011. "Skyscraper Height and the Business Cycle: International Time Series Evidence," Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark 2011-003, Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark.

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