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A Time Series Model of Housing Investment in the U.S

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  • Robert Topel

    (UCLA)

  • Sherwin Rosen

    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

A decentralized market theory of investment based on rising supply price is formulated and explained. Asset prices embody all available information in a competitive market and serve as "sufficient statistics" for future market conditions. Construction is determined myopically by marginal cost pricing: rising supply price constrains aggregate investment. Market dynamics imply that anticipated pulses in demand and interest rates lead to "bubbles" in prices, rentals and construction, because it pays to "build ahead of demand" in the presence of rising supply price. This model, similar to q-theory, assumes that long and short run elasticities of supply are identical. Short-run supply is less elastic than long-run supply when internal adjustment costs are superimposed on rising supply price. Then the current construction decision is no longer myopic and current price (or current q) is no longer sufficient for investment. Instead, builders must anticipate the future path of asset prices for current construction decisions. This enriched model is estimated under the hypothesis of rational expectations. The short-run elasticity is found to be 1.0 inquarterly data. The long-run elasticity is 3.0. The long-run is achieved within one year, indicating substantial built-in flexibility in the industry to accomodate great volatility in housing construction. Elastic supply helps account for the large fluctuations in output and employment observed in this industry. The data also show that prices alone do not clear the market. Other nonprice dimensions, including expected time-to-sale and overall transactions volume play independent roles which remain to be explained.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by UCLA Department of Economics in its series UCLA Economics Working Papers with number 387.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 1985
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Handle: RePEc:cla:uclawp:387

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Web page: http://www.econ.ucla.edu/

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  1. Kearl, J R, 1979. "Inflation, Mortgages, and Housing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 1115-38, October.
  2. Judd, Kenneth L, 1985. "Short-run Analysis of Fiscal Policy in a Simple Perfect Foresight Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 298-319, April.
  3. Barro, Robert J & Sahasakul, Chaipat, 1983. "Measuring the Average Marginal Tax Rate from the Individual Income Tax," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(4), pages 419-52, October.
  4. Martin Feldstein, 1982. "Inflation, Tax Rules, and the Accumulation of Residential and Nonresidential Capital," NBER Working Papers 0753, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-54, July.
  6. Harvey S. Rosen & Kenneth T. Rosen & Douglas Holtz-Eakin, 1984. "Housing Tenure, Uncertainty, and Taxation," NBER Working Papers 1168, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. ZELLNER, Arnold & PALM, Franz, . "Time series analysis and simultaneous equation econometric models," CORE Discussion Papers RP -173, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 1979. "Formulating and estimating dynamic linear rational expectations models," Working Papers 127, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  9. James M. Poterba, 1983. "Tax Subsidies to Owner-occupied Housing: An Asset Market Approach," Working papers 339, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1988. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," NBER Working Papers 2649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Mussa, Michael L, 1977. "External and Internal Adjustment Costs and the Theory of Aggregate and Firm Investment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 44(174), pages 163-78, May.
  12. Benhabib, Jess & Nishimura, Kazuo, 1979. "On the Uniqueness of Steady States in an Economy with Heterogeneous Capital Goods," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(1), pages 59-82, February.
  13. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 1985. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(4), pages 370-79, October.
  14. Engle, Robert F & Foley, Duncan K, 1975. "An Asset Price Model of Aggregate Investment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(3), pages 625-47, October.
  15. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
  16. Fama, Eugene F. & Gibbons, Michael R., 1982. "Inflation, real returns and capital investment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 297-323.
  17. Fumio Hayashi, 1981. "Tobin's Marginal q and Average a : A Neoclassical Interpretation," Discussion Papers 457, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  18. Lawrence H. Summers, 1981. "Taxation and Corporate Investment: A q-Theory Approach," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 12(1), pages 67-140.
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