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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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    Cited by:

    1. Seung‐Hyun Hong, 2022. "Real estate agents' influence on housing search," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 37(3), pages 563-582, April.
    2. Gianluigi Giustiziero, 2021. "Is the division of labor limited by the extent of the market? Opportunity cost theory with evidence from the real estate brokerage industry," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(7), pages 1344-1378, July.
    3. 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.
    4. Pasquini, Ricardo A., 2021. "Effects of regulating the brokerage commission in the rental market: Evidence from Buenos Aires," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(C).
    5. Luis Arturo Lopez, 2021. "Asymmetric information and personal affiliations in brokered housing transactions," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 49(2), pages 459-492, June.
    6. Vivek Bhattacharya & Gaston Illanes & Manisha Padi, 2019. "Fiduciary Duty and the Market for Financial Advice," NBER Working Papers 25861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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.
    8. Geoffrey K. Turnbull & Bennie D. Waller & Scott A. Wentland, 2022. "Mitigating agency costs in the housing market," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 50(3), pages 829-861, September.
    9. Bernardita Vial & Pilar Alcalde, 2020. "Intermediary Commissions in a Regulated Market with Heterogeneous Customers," Documentos de Trabajo 532, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..

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    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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