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Skyscrapers and the Skyline: Manhattan, 1895-2004

  • Jason Barr

This article investigates the market for skyscrapers in Manhattan from 1895 to 2004. Clark and Kingston (1930) have argued that extreme height is a result of profit maximization, while Helsley and Strange (2008) posit that skyscraper height can be caused, in part, by strategic interaction among builders. I provide a model for the market for building height and the number of completions, which are functions of the market fundamentals and the desire of builders to stand out in the skyline. I test this model using time series data. I find that skyscraper completions and average heights over the 20th century are consistent with profit maximization; the desire to add extra height to stand out does not appear to be a systematic determinant of building height. Copyright (c) 2010 American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1540-6229.2010.00277.x
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Article provided by American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association in its journal Real Estate Economics.

Volume (Year): 38 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
Pages: 567-597

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Handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:38:y:2010:i:3:p:567-597
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  1. 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.
  2. Benson, Earl D, et al, 1998. "Pricing Residential Amenities: The Value of a View," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 55-73, January.
  3. David Picken & Ben Ilozor, 2003. "Height and construction costs of buildings in Hong Kong," Construction Management and Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(2), pages 107-111.
  4. Lars Peter Hansen & Thomas J. Sargent, 1979. "Formulating and estimating dynamic linear rational expectations models," Working Papers 127, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  5. Bar-Ilan, Avner & Strange, William C, 1996. "Investment Lags," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 610-22, June.
  6. Grenadier, Steven R, 1995. "The Persistence of Real Estate Cycles," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 95-119, March.
  7. Titman, Sheridan, 1985. "Urban Land Prices under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 505-14, June.
  8. Tony McGough & Sotiris Tsolacos, 1999. "Interactions within the Office Market Cycle in Great Britain," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 18(1), pages 219-232.
  9. Finn, Mary G., 1986. "Forecasting the exchange rate: A monetary or random walk phenomenon?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 181-193, June.
  10. Jim Clayton, 1996. "Rational Expectations, Market Fundamentals and Housing Price Volatility," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 24(4), pages 441-470.
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