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Housing productivity and the social cost of land-use restrictions

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  • Albouy, David
  • Ehrlich, Gabriel

Abstract

We use metro-level variation in land and structural input prices to test and estimate a housing cost function with differences in local housing productivity. Both OLS and IV estimates imply that stringent regulatory and geographic restrictions substantially increase housing prices relative to land and construction input costs. The typical cost share of land is one-third, and substitution between inputs is inelastic. A disaggregated analysis of regulations finds state-level restrictions are costlier than local ones and provides a Regulatory Cost Index (RCI). Housing productivity falls with city population. Typical land-use restrictions impose costs that appear to exceed quality-of-life benefits, reducing welfare on net.

Suggested Citation

  • Albouy, David & Ehrlich, Gabriel, 2018. "Housing productivity and the social cost of land-use restrictions," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 101-120.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:107:y:2018:i:c:p:101-120
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jue.2018.06.002
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Housing prices; Productivity; Cost function estimation; Regulation; Economies of scale; Urbanization; Quality of life;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • R1 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets
    • R52 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Land Use and Other Regulations

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