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The role of housing in labor reallocation

  • Morris A. Davis
  • Jonas D. M. Fisher
  • Marcelo Veracierto

This paper builds a dynamic general equilibrium model of cities and uses it to analyze the role of local housing markets and moving costs in determining the character and extent of labor reallocation in the US economy. Labor reallocation in the model is driven by idiosyncratic city-specific productivity shocks, which we measure using a dataset that we compile using more than 350 U.S. cities for the years 1984 to 2008. Based on this measurement, we find that our model is broadly consistent with the city-level evidence on net and gross population flows, employment, wages and residential investment. We also find that the location-specific nature of housing is more important than moving costs in determining labor reallocation. Absent this quasi-fixity of housing, and under various assumptions governing population flows, population and employment would be much more volatile than observed.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-2010-18.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2010-18
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  1. Davis, Morris A. & Heathcote, Jonathan, 2007. "The price and quantity of residential land in the United States," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(8), pages 2595-2620, November.
  2. Christian Broda & David Weinstein, 2004. "Globalization and the gains from variety," Staff Reports 180, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  3. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Prescott, Edward C., 1974. "Equilibrium search and unemployment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 188-209, February.
  4. Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Pierre-Olivier Weill, 2006. "Why Has House Price Dispersion Gone Up?," NBER Working Papers 12538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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