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Housing Market Spillovers: Evidence from the End of Rent Control in Cambridge Massachusetts

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  • David H. Autor
  • Christopher J. Palmer
  • Parag A. Pathak

Abstract

Understanding potential spillovers from the attributes and actions of neighborhood residents onto the value of surrounding properties and neighborhoods is central to both the theory of urban economics and the development of efficient housing policy. This paper measures the capitalization of housing market spillovers by studying the sudden and largely unanticipated 1995 elimination of stringent rent controls in Cambridge, Massachusetts that had previously muted landlords' investment incentives and altered the assignment of residents to locations. Pooling administrative data on the assessed values of each residential property and the prices and characteristics of all residential transactions between 1988 and 2005, we find that rent control's removal produced large, positive, and robust spillovers onto the price of never-controlled housing from nearby decontrolled units. Elimination of rent control added about $1.8 billion to the value of Cambridge's housing stock between 1994 and 2004, equal to nearly a quarter of total Cambridge residential price appreciation in this period. Positive spillovers to never-controlled properties account for more half of the induced price appreciation. Residential investments can explain only a small fraction of the total.

Suggested Citation

  • David H. Autor & Christopher J. Palmer & Parag A. Pathak, 2012. "Housing Market Spillovers: Evidence from the End of Rent Control in Cambridge Massachusetts," NBER Working Papers 18125, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18125
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. “Housing Market Spillovers: Evidence from the End of Rent Control in Cambridge, MA,” D. Autor, C. Palmer & P. Pathak (2014)
      by afinetheorem in A Fine Theorem on 2014-07-31 23:38:07

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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Nancy Holman, 2015. "Distinctively Different: A New Approach to Valuing Architectural Amenities," SERC Discussion Papers 0171, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    2. Sviatlana Engerstam, 2017. "How does abolishment of rent control affect returns on residential investments in the long run?," ERES eres2017_260, European Real Estate Society (ERES).
    3. repec:anr:reveco:v:9:y:2017:p:21-58 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Baum-Snow, Nathaniel & Ferreira, Fernando, 2015. "Causal Inference in Urban and Regional Economics," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.
    5. Guerrieri, Veronica & Hartley, Daniel & Hurst, Erik, 2013. "Endogenous gentrification and housing price dynamics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 45-60.
    6. Ashot Tsharakyan & Petr Zemčík, 2016. "Did rent deregulation alter tenure choice decisions in the Czech Republic?," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 24(2), pages 335-360, April.
    7. Paolo Sodini & Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Roine Vestman & Ulf von Lilienfeld-Toal, 2016. "Identifying the Benefits from Home Ownership: A Swedish Experiment," NBER Working Papers 22882, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Stephen J. Redding & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2017. "Quantitative Spatial Economics," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 9(1), pages 21-58, September.
    9. Wong, Maisy, 2014. "Estimating the distortionary effects of ethnic quotas in Singapore using housing transactions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 115(C), pages 131-145.
    10. repec:aea:aecrev:v:107:y:2017:i:6:p:1365-98 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Mejía, Daniel & Restrepo, Pascual, 2016. "Crime and conspicuous consumption," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 1-14.
    12. Mense, Andreas & Michelsen, Claus & Cholodilin, Konstantin A., 2017. "Empirics on the causal effects of rent control in Germany," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 24/2017, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
    13. Essi Eerola & Tuukka Saarimaa, 2017. "Delivering Affordable Housing and Neighborhood Quality: A Comparison of Place- and Tenant-Based Programs," CESifo Working Paper Series 6674, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Fetter, Daniel K., 2016. "The Home Front: Rent Control and the Rapid Wartime Increase in Home Ownership," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 76(04), pages 1001-1043, December.
    15. Rebecca Diamond & Timothy McQuade, 2016. "Who Wants Affordable Housing in their Backyard? An Equilibrium Analysis of Low Income Property Development," NBER Working Papers 22204, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Diamond, Rebecca & McQuade, Tim, 2015. "Who Wants Affordable Housing in Their Backyard? An Equilibrium Analysis of Low Income Property Development," Research Papers 3329, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    17. Edward L. Glaeser & Scott Duke Kominers & Michael Luca & Nikhil Naik, 2015. "Big Data and Big Cities: The Promises and Limitations of Improved Measures of Urban Life," NBER Working Papers 21778, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Casey B. Mulligan & Kevin K. Tsui, 2016. "The Upside-down Economics of Regulated and Otherwise Rigid Prices," NBER Working Papers 22305, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Richard Hornbeck & Daniel Keniston, 2017. "Creative Destruction: Barriers to Urban Growth and the Great Boston Fire of 1872," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(6), pages 1365-1398, June.
    20. Miyakawa, Daisuke & Shimizu, Chihiro & Uesugi, Iichiro, 2016. "Geography and Realty Prices: Evidence from International Transaction-Level Data," HIT-REFINED Working Paper Series 52, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    21. Christopher Avery & Parag A. Pathak, 2015. "The Distributional Consequences of Public School Choice," NBER Working Papers 21525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets
    • R32 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Other Spatial Production and Pricing Analysis
    • R38 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Government Policy

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