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The Housing Wealth Effect: The Crucial Roles of Demographics, Wealth Distribution and Wealth Shares

  • Calomiris, Charles W.
  • Longhofer, Stanley D.
  • Miles, William

Current estimates of housing wealth effects vary widely. We consider the role of omitted variables suggested by economic theory that have been absent in a number of prior studies. Our estimates take into account age composition and wealth distribution (using poverty rates as a proxy), as well as wealth shares (how much of total wealth is comprised of housing vs. stock wealth). We exploit cross-state variation in housing, stock wealth and other variables in a newly assembled panel data set and find that the impact of housing on consumer spending depends crucially on age composition, poverty rates, and the housing wealth share. In particular, states with more young people who are more likely to be credit-constrained, and older homeowners, likely to be "trading down" on their housing stock, experience the largest housing wealth effects, as suggested by theory. Also, as suggested by theory, housing wealth effects are higher in state-years with higher housing wealth shares, and in state-years with higher poverty rates (likely reflecting the greater importance of credit constraints for those observations). Overall, we estimate the average housing wealth effect to be approximately 8.1 cents per dollar. However, consistent with theory, demographic and wealth characteristics of the population cause this effect to vary widely across states and over time.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/104.00000008
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Article provided by now publishers in its journal Critical Finance Review.

Volume (Year): 2 (2013)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 049-099

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Handle: RePEc:now:jnlcfr:104.00000008
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  1. Ana M. Aizcorbe & Arthur B. Kennickell & Kevin B. Moore, 2003. "Recent changes in U.S. family finances: evidence from the 1998 and 2001 Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-32.
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  5. Case, Karl E. & Quigley, John M. & Shiller, Robert J., 2005. "Comparing Wealth Effects: The Stock Market versus the Housing Market," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt28d3s92s, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
  6. Karl E. Case & John M. Quigley & Robert J. Shiller, 2011. "Wealth Effects Revisited 1978-2009," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1784, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
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  8. Arthur B. Kennickell & Martha Starr-McCluer & Brian J. Surette, 2000. "Recent changes in U. S. family finances: results from the 1998 Survey of Consumer Finances," Federal Reserve Bulletin, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), issue Jan, pages 1-29.
  9. Janine Aron & John Muellbauer, 2006. "Housing Wealth, Credit Conditions and Consumption," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2006-08, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  10. Christopher D. Carroll & Misuzu Otsuka & Jirka Slacalek, 2006. "How Large Is the Housing Wealth Effect? A New Approach," Economics Working Paper Archive 535, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
  11. Joakim Westerlund, 2007. "Testing for Error Correction in Panel Data," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 69(6), pages 709-748, December.
  12. Orazio Attanasio & Laura Blow & Robert Hamilton & Andrew Leicester, 2005. "Consumption, house prices and expectations," Bank of England working papers 271, Bank of England.
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