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Skyscraper Height

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  • Jason Barr

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Abstract

This paper investigates the determinants of skyscraper height. First a simple model is provided where potential developers desire not only profits but also status, as measured by their rank in the height hierarchy. The optimal height in equilibrium is a function of the cost and benefits of building as well as the height of surrounding buildings. Using data from New York City, I empirically estimate skyscraper height over the 20th century. The results show that the quest for status has increased building height by about 15 floors above the non-status profit maximizing height. In addition, I provide estimates of which buildings are "too tall" and by how many floors.

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File URL: http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/workingpaper20082
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark in its series Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark with number 2008-002.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:run:wpaper:2008-002

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Keywords: Skyscrapers; building height; status; New York City;

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  1. Bar-Ilan, Avner & Strange, William C, 1996. "Investment Lags," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 610-22, June.
  2. Jan K. Brueckner & Luz A. Saavedra, 2000. "Do Local Governments Engage in Strategic Property-Tax Competition?," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0357, Econometric Society.
  3. John Doiron & James D. Shilling & C.F. Sirmans, 1992. "Do Market Rents Reflect the Value of Special Building Features? The Case of Office Atriums," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 7(2), pages 147-156.
  4. Karl E. Case & Robert J. Shiller, 1988. "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. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1085-1107, September.
  7. Kerry D. Vandell & Jonathan S. Lane, 1989. "The Economics of Architecture and Urban Design: Some Preliminary Findings," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 17(2), pages 235-260.
  8. Peter F. Colwell & M. Shahid Ebrahim, 1997. "A Note on the Optimal Design of an Office Building," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 14(2), pages 169-174.
  9. Jason Barr, 2010. "Skyscrapers and the Skyline: Manhattan, 1895-2004," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 567-597.
  10. Strange William C., 1995. "Information, Holdouts, and Land Assembly," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 317-332, November.
  11. Helsley, Robert W. & Strange, William C., 2008. "A game-theoretic analysis of skyscrapers," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 49-64, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Nestor Garza & Colin Lizieri, 2012. "Skyscrapers and the economy," ERSA conference papers ersa12p414, European Regional Science Association.
  2. 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.

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