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Housing Market Spillovers: Evidence from the End of Rent Control in Cambridge, Massachusetts

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  • David H. Autor
  • Christopher J. Palmer
  • Parag A. Pathak

Abstract

We measure the capitalization of housing market externalities into residential housing values by studying the unanticipated elimination of stringent rent controls in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1995. Pooling data on the universe of assessed values and transacted prices of Cambridge residential properties between 1988 and 2005, we find that rent decontrol generated substantial, robust price appreciation at decontrolled units and nearby never-controlled units, accounting for a quarter of the $7.8 billion in Cambridge residential property appreciation during this period. The majority of this contribution stems from induced appreciation of never-controlled properties. Residential investment explains only a small fraction of the total.

Suggested Citation

  • David H. Autor & Christopher J. Palmer & Parag A. Pathak, 2014. "Housing Market Spillovers: Evidence from the End of Rent Control in Cambridge, Massachusetts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(3), pages 661-717.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:doi:10.1086/675536
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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Nancy Holman, 2015. "Distinctively Different: A New Approach to Valuing Architectural Amenities," SERC Discussion Papers 0171, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    2. Sviatlana Engerstam, 2017. "How does abolishment of rent control affect returns on residential investments in the long run?," ERES eres2017_260, European Real Estate Society (ERES).
    3. repec:anr:reveco:v:9:y:2017:p:21-58 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Baum-Snow, Nathaniel & Ferreira, Fernando, 2015. "Causal Inference in Urban and Regional Economics," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    5. Guerrieri, Veronica & Hartley, Daniel & Hurst, Erik, 2013. "Endogenous gentrification and housing price dynamics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 45-60.
    6. Ashot Tsharakyan & Petr Zemčík, 2016. "Did rent deregulation alter tenure choice decisions in the Czech Republic?," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 24(2), pages 335-360, April.
    7. Paolo Sodini & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Roine Vestman & Ulf von Lilienfeld-Toal, 2016. "Identifying the Benefits from Home Ownership: A Swedish Experiment," NBER Working Papers 22882, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Stephen J. Redding & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2017. "Quantitative Spatial Economics," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 9(1), pages 21-58, September.
    9. Wong, Maisy, 2014. "Estimating the distortionary effects of ethnic quotas in Singapore using housing transactions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 131-145.
    10. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:6:p:1365-98 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Mejía, Daniel & Restrepo, Pascual, 2016. "Crime and conspicuous consumption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 1-14.
    12. 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.
    13. Essi Eerola & Tuukka Saarimaa, 2017. "Delivering Affordable Housing and Neighborhood Quality: A Comparison of Place- and Tenant-Based Programs," CESifo Working Paper Series 6674, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Fetter, Daniel K., 2016. "The Home Front: Rent Control and the Rapid Wartime Increase in Home Ownership," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 76(04), pages 1001-1043, December.
    15. Diamond, Rebecca & McQuade, Tim, 2015. "Who Wants Affordable Housing in Their Backyard? An Equilibrium Analysis of Low Income Property Development," Research Papers 3329, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    16. Edward L. Glaeser & Scott Duke Kominers & Michael Luca & Nikhil Naik, 2015. "Big Data and Big Cities: The Promises and Limitations of Improved Measures of Urban Life," NBER Working Papers 21778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Casey B. Mulligan & Kevin K. Tsui, 2016. "The Upside-down Economics of Regulated and Otherwise Rigid Prices," NBER Working Papers 22305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Richard Hornbeck & Daniel Keniston, 2017. "Creative Destruction: Barriers to Urban Growth and the Great Boston Fire of 1872," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(6), pages 1365-1398, June.
    19. Miyakawa, Daisuke & Shimizu, Chihiro & Uesugi, Iichiro, 2016. "Geography and Realty Prices: Evidence from International Transaction-Level Data," HIT-REFINED Working Paper Series 52, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    20. Christopher Avery & Parag A. Pathak, 2015. "The Distributional Consequences of Public School Choice," NBER Working Papers 21525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets
    • R32 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Other Spatial Production and Pricing Analysis
    • R38 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Government Policy

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    1. Housing Market Spillovers: Evidence from the End of Rent Control in Cambridge, Massachusetts (JPE 2014) in ReplicationWiki

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