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Investor Rationality and House Price Bubbles: Berlin and the German Reunification

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  • Oliver Holtemöller
  • Rainer Schulz

Abstract

We analyze the behavior of investors in the Berlin rental apartment house market over the years 1980-2004. Using constant-quality multipliers (price-rent ratios), we reject the hypothesis that multipliers in the market were set in a rational manner. Supported by narrative evidence, we conjecture that investors misjudged the economic effects of the German reunification. To examine this, we employ a stylized structural economic model and analyze the effects of shocks on rational multipliers. It seems that investors confused the reunification with a permanent supply side shock to the economy. By basing their investment decisions on this misjudgement, investors behaved irrationally, but in a very uncertain and unprecedented environment. Copyright 2010 The Authors. German Economic Review 2010 Verein für Socialpolitik.

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  • Oliver Holtemöller & Rainer Schulz, 2010. "Investor Rationality and House Price Bubbles: Berlin and the German Reunification," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 11, pages 465-486, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:germec:v:11:y:2010:i::p:465-486
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Campbell, John Y & Shiller, Robert J, 1987. "Cointegration and Tests of Present Value Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 95(5), pages 1062-1088, October.
    2. Litterman, Robert B, 1983. "A Random Walk, Markov Model for the Distribution of Time Series," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 1(2), pages 169-173, April.
    3. Richard H. Clarida & Mark Gertler, 1997. "How the Bundesbank Conducts Monetary Policy," NBER Chapters,in: Reducing Inflation: Motivation and Strategy, pages 363-412 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    5. Michael C. Burda, 2006. "Factor Reallocation in Eastern Germany after Reunification," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 368-374, May.
    6. Collier, Irwin L, Jr & Siebert, Horst, 1991. "The Economic Integration of Post-Wall Germany," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 196-201, May.
    7. Litterman, Robert B, 1983. "A Random Walk, Markov Model for the Distribution of Time Series," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 1(2), pages 169-173, April.
    8. Grieson, Ronald E, 1973. "The Supply of Rental Housing: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(3), pages 433-436, June.
    9. Marimon, Ramon & Scott, Andrew (ed.), 1999. "Computational Methods for the Study of Dynamic Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198294979.
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    Cited by:

    1. Projektgruppe Gemeinschaftsdiagnose, 2010. "Gemeinschaftsdiagnose Frühjahr 2010: Erholung setzt sich fort - Risiken bleiben groß," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 63(08), pages 03-78, April.

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