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Conflicts of Interest and Steering in Residential Brokerage

Author

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  • Panle Jia Barwick
  • Parag A. Pathak
  • Maisy Wong

Abstract

This paper documents uniformity in real estate commission rates offered to buyers' agents using 653,475 residential listings in eastern Massachusetts from 1998–2011. Properties listed with lower commission rates experience less favorable transaction outcomes: they are 5 percent less likely to sell and take 12 percent longer to sell. These adverse outcomes reflect decreased willingness of buyers' agents to intermediate low commission properties (steering), rather than heterogeneous seller preferences or reduced effort of listing agents. Offices with large market shares purchase a disproportionately small fraction of low commission properties. The negative outcomes for low commissions provide empirical support for regulatory concerns over steering.

Suggested Citation

  • Panle Jia Barwick & Parag A. Pathak & Maisy Wong, 2017. "Conflicts of Interest and Steering in Residential Brokerage," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 191-222, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:9:y:2017:i:3:p:191-222
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20160214
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Gabrovski, Miroslav & Ortego-Marti, Victor, 2019. "The cyclical behavior of the Beveridge Curve in the housing market," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 181(C), pages 361-381.
    2. Velma Zahirovic-Herbert & Bennie D. Waller & Geoffrey K. Turnbull, 2020. "Properties that Sell at or above Listing Price: Strategic Pricing, Better Broker or Just Dumb Luck?," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 60(1), pages 53-76, February.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L85 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Real Estate Services
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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