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Differences in Quality of Life Estimates Using Rents and Home Values

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  • Winters, John V.

    (Iowa State University)

Abstract

Quality of life differences across areas can be measured by differences in “real wages”, where real wages are computed as nominal wages adjusted for the cost of living. Computing cost of living differences involves several important issues, including how housing prices should be measured. Previous researchers typically have used some combination of rental payments and homeowner housing values, but housing values are forward-looking and may not reflect current user costs. This paper examines differences in quality of life estimates for U.S. metropolitan areas using, alternatively, rents and housing values. We find that the two measures of quality of life are highly correlated. Value-based estimates, however, are considerably more dispersed than rent-based estimates, likely because of the recent housing bubble and because housing values often provide an imperfect measure of the present user cost of housing. Researchers should be cautious in using housing values to construct quality of life estimates.

Suggested Citation

  • Winters, John V., 2012. "Differences in Quality of Life Estimates Using Rents and Home Values," IZA Discussion Papers 6703, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6703
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    1. On the difficulty of calculating the cost of living
      by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2012-08-01 19:32:00

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    Cited by:

    1. Wrede, Matthias, 2012. "Wages, rents, unemployment, and the quality of life," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 01/2012 [rev.], Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    2. Banzhaf, H. Spencer & Farooque, Omar, 2013. "Interjurisdictional housing prices and spatial amenities: Which measures of housing prices reflect local public goods?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 635-648.
    3. Lang, Corey, 2015. "The dynamics of house price responsiveness and locational sorting: Evidence from air quality changes," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 71-82.
    4. Matthias Wrede, 2019. "Attraktivität hat ihren Preis: hohe reale Wohnkosten, weites Pendeln oder lange Warteschlangen [The cost of attractiveness: Higher rents, further commutes, and longer queues]," Zeitschrift für Immobilienökonomie (German Journal of Real Estate Research), Springer;Gesellschaft für Immobilienwirtschaftliche Forschung e. V., vol. 5(1), pages 7-20, November.
    5. John V Winters & Yu Li, 2017. "Urbanisation, natural amenities and subjective well-being: Evidence from US counties," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 54(8), pages 1956-1973, June.
    6. Felix N. Fernando & Dennis R. Cooley, 2016. "An Oil Boom’s Effect on Quality of Life (QoL): Lessons from Western North Dakota," Applied Research in Quality of Life, Springer;International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies, vol. 11(4), pages 1083-1115, December.
    7. Rafael Molinaro & Mohammad K. Najjar & Ahmed W. A. Hammad & Assed Haddad & Elaine Vazquez, 2020. "Urban Development Index (UDI): A Comparison between the City of Rio de Janeiro and Four Other Global Cities," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(3), pages 1-25, January.
    8. Winters, John V., 2011. "Human capital, higher education institutions, and quality of life," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 446-454, September.
    9. Perry Burnett & Travis Brooks & Patrick Bassett, 2017. "Estimating Quality of Life and Place with Location Theory: The McBucks Index," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 134(2), pages 455-472, November.
    10. Emilio Colombo & Alessandra Michelangeli & Luca Stanca, 2014. "La Dolce Vita : Hedonic Estimates of Quality of Life in Italian Cities," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 48(8), pages 1404-1418, August.
    11. Giannias, D & Sfakianaki, E, 2011. "Regional and environmental effects of the EU enlargement and Euro zone," Regional and Sectoral Economic Studies, Euro-American Association of Economic Development, vol. 11(2).
    12. Shi, Tie & Zhu, Wenzhang & Fu, Shihe, 2021. "Quality of Life in Chinese Cities," MPRA Paper 105266, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Matthias Wrede, 2015. "Wages, Rents, Unemployment, And The Quality Of Life: A Consistent Theory‐Based Measure," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(4), pages 609-625, September.
    14. Dimitrios A Giannias & Eleni Sfakianaki, 2013. "Regional and environmental classifications of the 27 EU countries," Journal of Developing Areas, Tennessee State University, College of Business, vol. 47(2), pages 139-157, July-Dece.
    15. Paul Frijters & Benno Torgler & Grace Gao & Daniel Melser, 2016. "Revealed Preference Measures of Quality of Life in Australia's Urban and Regional Areas," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 92, pages 15-29, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    quality of life; amenities; rents; housing; wages;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R13 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General Equilibrium and Welfare Economic Analysis of Regional Economies
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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