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Status Competition and Housing Prices

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  • Shang-Jin Wei
  • Xiaobo Zhang
  • Yin Liu

Abstract

While in standard housing economics housing is regarded as an asset and a consumption good, we study in this paper the consequences for housing prices if housing is also a status good. More concretely, if a family's housing wealth relative to others is an important marker for relative status in the marriage market, then competition for marriage partners might motivate people to pursue a bigger and more expensive house/apartment beyond its direct consumption (and financial investment) value. To test the empirical validity of the hypothesis, we have to overcome the usual difficulty of not being able to observe the intensity of status competition. Our innovation is to explore regional variations in the sex ratio for the pre-marital age cohort across China, which likely has triggered variations in the intensity of competition in the marriage market. The empirical evidence appears to support this hypothesis. We estimate that due to the status good feature of housing, a rise in the sex ratio accounts for 30-48% of the rise in real urban housing prices in China during 2003-2009.

Suggested Citation

  • Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang & Yin Liu, 2012. "Status Competition and Housing Prices," NBER Working Papers 18000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18000
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Erwin Bulte & Nico Heerink & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "China's One‐Child Policy and ‘the Mystery of Missing Women’: Ethnic Minorities and Male‐Biased Sex Ratios," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 73(1), pages 21-39, February.
    9. Lena Edlund & Chulhee Lee, 2013. "Son Preference, Sex Selection and Economic Development: The Case of South Korea," NBER Working Papers 18679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Hongbin LI & Hui ZHENG, 2009. "Ultrasonography and Sex Ratios in China," Asian Economic Policy Review, Japan Center for Economic Research, vol. 4(1), pages 121-137.
    11. Shang-Jin Wei & Xiaobo Zhang, 2011. "Sex Ratios, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Growth in the People's Republic of China," NBER Working Papers 16800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Edlund, Lena & Li, Hongbin & Yi, Junjian & Zhang, Junsen, 2007. "Sex Ratios and Crime: Evidence from China’s One-Child Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 3214, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Residential real estate in China: the delicate balance of supply and demand
      by Steve Cecchetti and Kim Schoenholtz in Money, Banking and Financial Markets on 2015-04-27 17:28:12

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Garriga, Carlos & Tang, Yang & Wang, Ping, 2014. "Rural-Urban Migration, Structural Transformation, and Housing Markets in China," Working Papers 2014-28, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 21 Apr 2016.
    2. He, Ling-Yun & Wen, Xing-Chun, 2017. "Population growth, interest rate, and housing tax in the transitional China," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 469(C), pages 305-312.
    3. Han, Xuehui & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2017. "Re-examining the middle-income trap hypothesis (MITH): What to reject and what to revive?," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(PA), pages 41-61.
    4. Chen, Xi, 2017. "Does Daughter Deficit Promote Parental Substance Use? Longitudinal Evidence on Smoking from Rural China," IZA Discussion Papers 10860, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Gregory C. Chow & Linlin Niu, 2015. "Housing Prices in Urban China as Determined by Demand and Supply," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 1-16, February.
    6. Clément Bellet, 2017. "Essays on Inequality, Social Preferences and Consumer Behavior," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/vbu6kd1s68o, Sciences Po.
    7. Zhang, Chuanchuan & Jia, Shen & Yang, Rudai, 2016. "Housing affordability and housing vacancy in China: The role of income inequality," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 4-14.
    8. Tang, Mingzhe & Coulson, N. Edward, 2017. "The impact of China's housing provident fund on homeownership, housing consumption and housing investment," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 25-37.
    9. Mao, Rui & Xu, Jianwei, 2014. "Population aging, consumption budget allocation and sectoral growth," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 44-65.
    10. Du, Julan & Wang, Yongqin & Zhang, Yan, 2015. "Sex imbalance, marital matching and intra-household bargaining: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 197-218.
    11. Feng, Qu & Wu, Guiying Laura, 2015. "Bubble or riddle? An asset-pricing approach evaluation on China's housing market," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 376-383.
    12. Wu, Guiying Laura & Feng, Qu & Li, Pei, 2015. "Does local governments’ budget deficit push up housing prices in China?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 183-196.
    13. Wen, Xing-Chun & He, Ling-Yun, 2015. "Housing demand or money supply? A new Keynesian dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model on China’s housing market fluctuations," Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications, Elsevier, vol. 432(C), pages 257-268.
    14. Chen, Xi, 2014. "Commercial Plasma Donation and Individual Health in Impoverished Rural China," IZA Discussion Papers 8591, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Chang, Simone & Kan, Kamhon & Zhang, Xiaobo, 2016. "The dark side of competition: Gender differences," IFPRI discussion papers 1585, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    16. repec:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:169-186 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Bian, Timothy Yang & Gete, Pedro, 2015. "What drives housing dynamics in China? A sign restrictions VAR approach," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 96-112.
    18. Bussière, Matthieu & Kalantzis, Yannick & Lafarguette, Romain & Sicular, Terry, 2013. "Understanding household savings in China: the role of the housing market and borrowing constraints," MPRA Paper 44611, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Chen, Xi, 2017. "Do Skewed Sex Ratios Among Children Promote Parental Smoking? Longitudinal Evidence from Rural China," GLO Discussion Paper Series 159, Global Labor Organization (GLO).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates
    • R2 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis
    • R3 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location

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