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The Political Economy of Housing Supply:Homeowners, Workers, and Voters


  • Francois Ortalo-Magne
  • Andrea Prat


Equilibrium of the housing market depends on a complex set of interactions between: (1)individual location decisions; (2) individual housing investment; (3) collective decisions onurban growth. We embed these three elements in a model of a dynamic economy with twosources of friction: ill-de…ned property rights on future land development and uninsurableshocks a¤ecting labor productivity. We characterize the feedback between the households’desire to invest in housing as a hedge against the risk of rent ‡uctuations and their supportfor supply restrictions once they own housing. The model generates an ine¢ ciently lowsupply of housing in equilibrium. The model also rationalizes the persistence of housingundersupply: the more restricted the initial housing supply, the smaller the city size selectedby the voting process. We use the model to study the e¤ects of a number of policies andinstitutional changes.

Suggested Citation

  • Francois Ortalo-Magne & Andrea Prat, 2007. "The Political Economy of Housing Supply:Homeowners, Workers, and Voters," STICERD - Theoretical Economics Paper Series 514, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:stitep:514

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Todd Sinai & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2005. "Owner-Occupied Housing as a Hedge Against Rent Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(2), pages 763-789.
    2. Hilber, Christian A.L., 2005. "Neighborhood externality risk and the homeownership status of properties," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(2), pages 213-241, March.
    3. Jeffrey A. Dubin & D. Roderick Kiewiet & Charles Noussair, 1992. "Voting On Growth Control Measures: Preferences And Strategies," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 4(2), pages 191-213, July.
    4. Bertaud, Alain & Brueckner, Jan K., 2004. "Analyzing building height restrictions - predicted impacts, welfare costs, and a case study of Bangalore, India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3290, The World Bank.
    5. Brueckner, Jan K., 1995. "Strategic control of growth in a system of cities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(3), pages 393-416, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hilber, Christian A.L. & Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric, 2013. "On the origins of land use regulations: Theory and evidence from US metro areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 29-43.
    2. Todd Sinai, 2010. "Feedback Between Real Estate And Urban Economics," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 423-448.
    3. Wrenn, Douglas H. & Irwin, Elena G., 2015. "Time is money: An empirical examination of the effects of regulatory delay on residential subdivision development," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 25-36.
    4. Byron F. Lutz, 2009. "Fiscal amenities, school finance reform and the supply side of the Tiebout market," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2009-18, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item


    Housing Supply; Housing Demand; Regulatory Policies; Political Economy.;

    JEL classification:

    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R38 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Government Policy
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior


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