IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_8511.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Cities without Skylines: Worldwide Building-Height Gaps and Their Implications

Author

Listed:
  • Remi Jedwab
  • Jason Barr
  • Jan K. Brueckner

Abstract

There is a large literature in the U.S. measuring the extent and stringency of land-use regulations in urban areas and how these regulations affect important outcomes such as housing prices and economic growth. This paper is the first to present an international measure of regulatory stringency by estimating what we call building-height gaps. Using a novel geospatialized data set on the year of construction and heights of tall buildings around the world, we compare the total height of a country’s actual stock of tall buildings to what the total height would have been if building-height regulations were relatively less stringent, based on parameters from a benchmark set of countries. We find that these gaps are larger for richer countries and for residential buildings rather than for commercial buildings. The building-heights gaps correlate strongly with other measures of land-use regulation and international measures of housing prices, sprawl, congestion and pollution. Taken together, the results suggest that stringent building-height regulations around the world might be imposing relatively large welfare losses.

Suggested Citation

  • Remi Jedwab & Jason Barr & Jan K. Brueckner, 2020. "Cities without Skylines: Worldwide Building-Height Gaps and Their Implications," CESifo Working Paper Series 8511, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_8511
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp8511.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven E. Saks, 2006. "Urban growth and housing supply," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 71-89, January.
    2. Katharina Knoll & Moritz Schularick & Thomas Steger, 2017. "No Price Like Home: Global House Prices, 1870-2012," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(2), pages 331-353, February.
    3. Gyourko, Joseph & Hartley, Jonathan S. & Krimmel, Jacob, 2021. "The local residential land use regulatory environment across U.S. housing markets: Evidence from a new Wharton index," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C).
    4. Bertaud, Alain & Brueckner, Jan K., 2005. "Analyzing building-height restrictions: predicted impacts and welfare costs," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 109-125, March.
    5. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Enrico Moretti, 2019. "Housing Constraints and Spatial Misallocation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 1-39, April.
    6. Nicolas Gendron-Carrier & Marco Gonzalez-Navarro & Stefano Polloni & Matthew A. Turner, 2022. "Subways and Urban Air Pollution," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 14(1), pages 164-196, January.
    7. Glaeser, Edward L. & Ward, Bryce A., 2009. "The causes and consequences of land use regulation: Evidence from Greater Boston," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 265-278, May.
    8. Albert Saiz, 2010. "The Geographic Determinants of Housing Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1253-1296.
    9. Gonzalez-Navarro, Marco & Turner, Matthew A., 2018. "Subways and urban growth: Evidence from earth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 85-106.
    10. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
    11. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven E. Saks, 2005. "Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 329-333, May.
    12. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R., 2007. "The effect of land use regulation on housing and land prices," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 420-435, May.
    13. Joseph Gyourko & Albert Saiz & Anita Summers, 2008. "A New Measure of the Local Regulatory Environment for Housing Markets: The Wharton Residential Land Use Regulatory Index," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 45(3), pages 693-729, March.
    14. Brueckner, Jan K. & Singh, Ruchi, 2020. "Stringency of land-use regulation: Building heights in US cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 116(C).
    15. Barr, Jason & Tassier, Troy & Trendafilov, Rossen, 2011. "Depth to Bedrock and the Formation of the Manhattan Skyline, 1890–1915," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(4), pages 1060-1077, December.
    16. Brueckner, Jan K., 1987. "The structure of urban equilibria: A unified treatment of the muth-mills model," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 20, pages 821-845, Elsevier.
    17. Saks, Raven E., 2008. "Job creation and housing construction: Constraints on metropolitan area employment growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 178-195, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Skyscrapers and Housing Affordability: Debunking Misconceptions
      by Jason Barr in Skynomics Blog on 2021-03-23 12:10:58

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Barr, Jason, 2022. "The economics of skyscrapers: A synthesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    2. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Barr, Jason, 2022. "Viewing urban spatial history from tall buildings," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(C).
    3. Michael D. Eriksen & Anthony W. Orlando, 2022. "Returns to Scale in Residential Construction: The Marginal Impact of Building Height," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 50(2), pages 534-564, June.
    4. Remi Jedwab & Jason Barr, 2022. "Exciting, Boring, and Non-Existent Skylines: Vertical Building Gaps in Global Perspective," Working Papers 2022-11, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    5. Jedwab, Remi & Loungani, Prakash & Yezer, Anthony, 2021. "Comparing cities in developed and developing countries: Population, land area, building height and crowding," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Larson, William & Yezer, Anthony & Zhao, Weihua, 2022. "Urban planning policies and the cost of living in large cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(C).
    2. Xi Yang, 2021. "Land-Use Regulations and Urban Growth of African Americans," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 35(4), pages 338-350, November.
    3. Molloy, Raven & Nathanson, Charles G. & Paciorek, Andrew, 2022. "Housing supply and affordability: Evidence from rents, housing consumption and household location," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    4. Gyourko, Joseph & Molloy, Raven, 2015. "Regulation and Housing Supply," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: Gilles Duranton & J. V. Henderson & William C. Strange (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 0, pages 1289-1337, Elsevier.
    5. Anthony Yezer & William Larson & Weihua Zhao, 2018. "An Examination of the Link between Urban Planning Policies and the High Cost of Housing and Labor," Working Papers 2018-6, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    6. Christian A. L. Hilber, 2017. "The Economic Implications of House Price Capitalization: A Synthesis," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 45(2), pages 301-339, April.
    7. John Landis & Vincent J. Reina, 2021. "Do Restrictive Land Use Regulations Make Housing More Expensive Everywhere?," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 35(4), pages 305-324, November.
    8. David Christafore & Susane Leguizamon, 2015. "Spatial Spillovers of Land Use Regulation in the United States," Housing Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 30(3), pages 491-503, June.
    9. 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.
    10. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Barr, Jason, 2022. "The economics of skyscrapers: A synthesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 129(C).
    11. Ganong, Peter & Shoag, Daniel, 2017. "Why has regional income convergence in the U.S. declined?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 76-90.
    12. Remi Jedwab & Jason Barr & Jan Brueckner, 2021. "Cities Without Skylines: Worldwide Building-Height Gaps and their Possible Determinants and Implications," Working Papers 2021-15, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    13. Wenbin Huang, 2022. "Government Land Regulations and Housing Supply Elasticity in Urban China," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 30(4), pages 122-148, July.
    14. Sebastian Eichhorn & David Pehlke, 2022. "Unintended effects of regional planning in Germany," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(2), pages 933-950, June.
    15. H. Spencer Banzhaf & Kyle Mangum, 2019. "Capitalization as a Two-Part Tariff: The Role of Zoning," NBER Working Papers 25699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Paciorek, Andrew, 2013. "Supply constraints and housing market dynamics," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 11-26.
    17. Cun, Wukuang & Pesaran, M. Hashem, 2022. "A spatiotemporal equilibrium model of migration and housing interlinkages," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C).
    18. Christian A. L. Hilber & Wouter Vermeulen, 2016. "The Impact of Supply Constraints on House Prices in England," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(591), pages 358-405, March.
    19. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Enrico Moretti, 2019. "Housing Constraints and Spatial Misallocation," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 1-39, April.
    20. Raven S. Molloy & Charles G. Nathanson & Andrew D. Paciorek, 2020. "Housing Supply and Affordability: Evidence from Rents, Housing Consumption and Household Location," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2020-044, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    international buildings heights; tall buildings; skyscrapers; land use regulations; housing supply; housing prices; sprawl; congestion; pollution;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R30 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - General
    • R50 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - General
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_8511. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Klaus Wohlrabe (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.