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Rethinking the Federal Bias Toward Homeownership

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  • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig
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    Abstract

    The most fundamental fact about rental housing in the United States is that rental units are overwhelmingly in multifamily structures. This fact surely reflects the agency problems associated with renting single-family dwellings, and it should influence all discussions of rental housing policy. Policies that encourage homeowning are implicitly encouraging people to move away from higher density living; policies that discourage renting are implicitly discouraging multifamily buildings. Two major distortions shape the rental housing market, both of which are created by the public sector. Federal pro-homeownership policies, such as the home mortgage interest deduction, weaken the rental market and the cities where rental markets thrive. Local policies that discourage tall buildings likewise ensure that Americans have fewer rental options. The economic vitality of cities and the environmental consequences of large suburban homes with long commutes both support arguments for reducing these distortions.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Harvard Kennedy School of Government in its series Scholarly Articles with number 8052149.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Publication status: Published in Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research
    Handle: RePEc:hrv:hksfac:8052149

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    1. Glaeser, Edward L. & Kahn, Matthew E., 2010. "The greenness of cities: Carbon dioxide emissions and urban development," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(3), pages 404-418, May.
    2. Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2008. "The Economics of Place-Making Policies," NBER Working Papers 14373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn & Jordan Rappaport, 2000. "Why Do The Poor Live In Cities?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1891, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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    Cited by:
    1. Lerbs, Oliver W., 2012. "House prices, housing development costs, and the supply of new single-family housing in German counties and cities," CAWM Discussion Papers 57, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM), University of Münster.
    2. Oliver Lerbs, . "House Prices, Housing Development Costs, and the Supply of New Single-Family Housing in German Counties and Cities," Working Papers 201283, Institute of Spatial and Housing Economics, Munster Universitary.
    3. Konstantin A. Kholodilin & Andreas Mense, 2011. "Can Internet Ads Serve as an Indicator of Homeownership Rates?," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1168, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.

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