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Superstar Cities

  • Joseph Gyourko
  • Christopher Mayer
  • Todd Sinai

Differences in house price and income growth rates between 1950 and 2000 across metropolitan areas have led to an ever-widening gap in housing values and incomes between the typical and highest-priced locations. We show that the growing spatial skewness in house prices and incomes are related and can be explained, at least in part, by inelastic supply of land in some attractive locations combined with an increasing number of high-income households nationally. Scarce land leads to a bidding-up of land prices and a sorting of high-income families relatively more into those desirable, unique, low housing construction markets, which we label %u201Csuperstar cities.%u201D Continued growth in the number of high-income families in the U.S. provides support for ever-larger differences in house prices across inelastically supplied locations and income-based spatial sorting. Our empirical work confirms a number of equilibrium relationships implied by the superstar cities framework and shows that it occurs both at the metropolitan area level and at the sub-MSA level, controlling for MSA characteristics.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12355.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
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Publication status: published as Joseph Gyourko & Christopher Mayer & Todd Sinai, 2013. "Superstar Cities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 167-99, November.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12355
Note: AP PE
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  1. Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Pierre-Olivier Weill, 2006. "Why Has House Price Dispersion Gone Up?," NBER Working Papers 12538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. J. Vernon Henderson & Ari Kuncoro & Matthew Turner, 1992. "Industrial Development in Cities," NBER Working Papers 4178, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Glaeser, Edward L & Hedi D. Kallal & Jose A. Scheinkman & Andrei Shleifer, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(6), pages 1126-52, December.
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  4. James E. Rauch, 1991. "Productivity Gains From Geographic Concentration of human Capital: Evidence From the Cities," NBER Working Papers 3905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ortalo-Magné, François & Rady, Sven, 2005. "Heterogeneity within Communities: A Stochastic Model with Tenure Choice," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 49, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  6. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2006. "The Polarization of the U.S. Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 189-194, May.
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  8. Enrico Moretti, 2004. "Workers' Education, Spillovers, and Productivity: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 656-690, June.
  9. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven Saks, 2003. "Why is Manhattan So Expensive? Regulation and the Rise in House Prices," NBER Working Papers 10124, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, . "The Impact of Zoning on Housing Affordability," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 395, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
  11. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2005. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 345-375, April.
  12. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Smart Cities: Quality of Life, Productivity, and the Growth Effects of Human Capital," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 324-335, May.
  13. François Ortalo-Magné & Andrea Prat, 2005. "The Political Economy of Housing Supply," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000954, UCLA Department of Economics.
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  15. Lee, Sanghoon, 2010. "Ability sorting and consumer city," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 20-33, July.
  16. Waldfogel, Joel, 2003. " Preference Externalities: An Empirical Study of Who Benefits Whom in Differentiated-Product Markets," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(3), pages 557-68, Autumn.
  17. Meese Richard & Wallace Nancy, 1994. "Testing the Present Value Relation for Housing Prices: Should I Leave My House in San Francisco?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 245-266, May.
  18. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
  19. Blomquist, Glenn C & Berger, Mark C & Hoehn, John P, 1988. "New Estimates of Quality of Life in Urban Areas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 89-107, March.
  20. Albert Saiz, 2010. "The Geographic Determinants of Housing Supply," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(3), pages 1253-1296, August.
  21. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2001. "The Determinants of Agglomeration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 191-229, September.
  22. Joseph Gyourko & Albert Saiz, 2006. "Construction Costs And The Supply Of Housing Structure," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(4), pages 661-680.
  23. Todd Sinai & Nicholas S. Souleles, 2005. "Owner-occupied housing as a hedge against rent risk," Working Papers 05-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  24. Epple, Dennis & Platt, Glenn J., 1998. "Equilibrium and Local Redistribution in an Urban Economy when Households Differ in both Preferences and Incomes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 23-51, January.
  25. Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 1991. "The Structure of Local Public Finance and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 774-806, August.
  26. Dennis Epple & Holger Sieg, 1999. "Estimating Equilibrium Models of Local Jurisdictions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 645-681, August.
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