Revealed preference for relative status: Evidence from the housing market
This paper investigates the value individuals place on their relative housing consumption as compared to absolute housing consumption. Using observed housing sales from three Ohio MSAs in 2000, a spatial Durbin hedonic price model provides total marginal willingness-to-pay estimates for both characteristics of housing units and those of its neighbors. Using this revealed-preference approach, we find evidence suggesting individuals do value relative house size, but the absolute effect dominates. For instance, the estimates indicate that if all homes in Columbus were to increase in size by 100 square feet, the net effect of impacts on absolute and relative consumption would be to increase house prices by $605 on average. This stands in contrast to the stated preference literature, which frequently find individuals to be willing to forgo absolute well-being in exchange for relative status gains.
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