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Interactions, Neighborhood Selection, and Housing Demand

  • Yannis M Ioannides
  • Jeffrey E Zabel

This paper contributes to the growing literature that identifies and measures the impact of social context on individual economic behavior. We develop a model of housing demand with neighborhood e®ects and neighborhood choice. Modelling neighborhood choice is of fundamental importance in estimating and understanding endogenous and exogenous neighborhood effects. That is, to obtain unbiased estimates of neighborhood effects, it is necessary to control for non-random sorting into neighborhoods. Estimation of the model exploits a unique data set of household data that has been augmented with contextual information at two di®erent levels (“scales”) of aggregation. One is at the neighborhood cluster level, of about ten neighbors, with the data coming from a special sample of the American Housing Survey. A second level is the census tract to which these dwelling units belong. Tract-level data are available in the Summary Tape Files of the decennial Census data. We merge these two data sets by gaining access to confidential data of the U.S. Bureau of the Census. We overcome some limitations of these data by implementing some significant methodological advances in estimating discrete choice models. Our results for the neighborhood choice model indicate that individuals prefer to live near others like themselves. This can perpetuate income inequality since those with the best opportunities at economic success will cluster together. The results for the housing demand equation are similar to those in our earlier work [Ioannides and Zabel (2000] where we find evidence of significant endogenous and contextual neighborhood effects.

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Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 02-19.

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Date of creation: Aug 2002
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Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:02-19
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  4. Kiel, Katherine A & Zabel, Jeffrey E, 1997. "Evaluating the Usefulness of the American Housing Survey for Creating House Price Indices," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 14(1-2), pages 189-202, Jan.-Marc.
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  24. Henderson, J. Vernon & Ioannides, Yannis M., 1989. "Dynamic aspects of consumer decisions in housing markets," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 212-230, September.
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