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Rent Control Rationing and Community Composition: Evidence from Massachusetts

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  • Sims David P

    () (Brigham Young University)

Abstract

This paper investigates whether rent control affects community socioeconomic composition. In particular, do rent controls increase the presence of poor and minority residents in a locale? Theoretically, the effect of rent control on community composition is ambiguous, as it depends upon several factors including willingness to occupy controlled apartments, landlord imposed rationing mechanisms, and spillover effects of rent controlled housing on uncontrolled units. Using census data on how Cambridge, Massachusetts and nearby communities responded to the state imposed end of rent control, I find evidence that rent control increased the presence of minority residents but also decreased the proportion of poor residents. This evidence is robust to alternate control areas and several specification checks. I also find that despite its positive impact on minority membership, rent control is associated with an increase in traditional measures of residential segregation.

Suggested Citation

  • Sims David P, 2011. "Rent Control Rationing and Community Composition: Evidence from Massachusetts," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 1-30, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:11:y:2011:i:1:n:27
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Enström Öst, Cecilia & Söderberg, Bo & Wilhelmsson, Mats, 2014. "Household allocation and spatial distribution in a market under (“soft”) rent control," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 353-372.

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