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Rent Control and Misallocation


  • Morten Skak
  • Gintautas Bloze


Rent control is still an important type of government regulation of housing markets in many countries and numerous researchers have studied its implications for allocation, welfare and investments in housing. The present paper aims to improve our understanding of the effect of second-generation rent control when it is applied only to one sector of the rental market. It is diagrammatically shown that the welfare effects are very different between a universal and a limited application of rent control. Studying the Danish case of second-generation rent control, lower rents are found in controlled sectors and a minor increase of the rent in the uncontrolled sector. Using the area of living space in the dwelling as a measure for housing consumption, evidence is also produced of both overallocation and underallocation of housing in the rent-controlled sectors; as envisaged by economic theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Morten Skak & Gintautas Bloze, 2013. "Rent Control and Misallocation," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 50(10), pages 1988-2005, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:50:y:2013:i:10:p:1988-2005

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Franz Hubert, 1993. "The Impact of Rent Control on Rents in the Free Sector," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 30(1), pages 51-61, February.
    2. Edward L. Glaeser & Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2003. "The Misallocation of Housing Under Rent Control," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1027-1046, September.
    3. Hackner, Jonas & Nyberg, Sten, 2000. " Rent Control and Prices of Owner-Occupied Housing," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 102(2), pages 311-324, June.
    4. Gyourko, Joseph & Linneman, Peter, 1990. "Rent controls and rental housing quality: A note on the effects of New York City's old controls," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 398-409, May.
    5. Richard Arnott, 1995. "Time for Revisionism on Rent Control?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(1), pages 99-120, Winter.
    6. Morten Skak, 2008. "Projecting Demand for Rental Homes in Denmark," International Journal of Housing Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(3), pages 235-262.
    7. Edward L. Glaeser, 1996. "The Social Costs of Rent Control Revisted," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1747, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    8. Marks, Denton, 1984. "The effects of partial-coverage rent control on the price and quantity of rental housing," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 360-369, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mense, Andreas & Michelsen, Claus & Cholodilin, Konstantin A., 2017. "Empirics on the causal effects of rent control in Germany," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 24/2017, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    2. João Miguel Ejarque & Joachim Borg Kristensen, 2013. "Rent Control and the Housing Expenditure Share," CAM Working Papers 2013-01, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
    3. Thomschke, Lorenz, 2016. "Distributional price effects of rent controls in Berlin: When expectation meets reality," CAWM Discussion Papers 89, University of Münster, Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM).
    4. Lerbs, Oliver & Sebastian, Steffen P., . "Mietspiegel aus ökonomischer Sicht – Vorschläge für eine Neuregulierung," Beiträge zur Immobilienwirtschaft, University of Regensburg, Department of Economics, number 10, March.
    5. Micheli, Martin & Schmidt, Torsten, 2015. "Welfare effects of rent control — A comparison of redistributive policies," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 237-247.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets


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