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Housing Demand, Cost-of-Living Inequality, and the Affordability Crisis

Listed author(s):
  • David Albouy
  • Gabriel Ehrlich
  • Yingyi Liu

Since 1970, housing's relative price, share of expenditure, and ``unaffordability'' have all grown. We estimate housing demand using a novel compensated framework over space and an uncompensated framework over time. Our specifications pass tests imposed by rationality and household mobility. Housing demand is income and price inelastic, and appears to fall with household size. We provide a numerical non-homothetic constant elasticity of substitution utility function for improved quantitative modeling. An ideal cost-of-living index demonstrates that the poor have been disproportionately impacted by rising relative rents, which have greatly amplified increases in real income inequality.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 22816.

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Date of creation: Nov 2016
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:22816
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  1. Harmon, Oskar R., 1988. "The income elasticity of demand for single-family owner-occupied housing: An empirical reconciliation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 173-185, September.
  2. Rappaport, Jordan, 2008. "A productivity model of city crowdedness," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 715-722, March.
  3. Jerry Hausman, 2001. "Mismeasured Variables in Econometric Analysis: Problems from the Right and Problems from the Left," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(4), pages 57-67, Fall.
  4. David Albouy & Gabriel Ehrlich, 2012. "Housing Productivity and the Social Cost of Land-Use Restrictions," NBER Working Papers 18110, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Goodman, Allen C., 1988. "An econometric model of housing price, permanent income, tenure choice, and housing demand," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 327-353, May.
  6. Davis, Morris A. & Gregory, Jess & Hartley, Daniel & Tan, Kegon T. K., 2017. "Neighborhood Choices, Neighborhood Effects and Housing Vouchers," Working Paper Series WP-2017-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  7. Matthew Rognlie, 2015. "Deciphering the Fall and Rise in the Net Capital Share," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 50(1 (Spring), pages 1-69.
  8. Guerrieri, Veronica & Hartley, Daniel & Hurst, Erik, 2013. "Endogenous gentrification and housing price dynamics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 45-60.
  9. Matthew Rognlie, 2015. "Deciphering the Fall and Rise in the Net Capital Share," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 46(1 (Spring), pages 1-69.
  10. David Albouy & Bryan Stuart, 2014. "Urban Population and Amenities: The Neoclassical Model of Location," NBER Working Papers 19919, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ermisch, J. F. & Findlay, J. & Gibb, K., 1996. "The Price Elasticity of Housing Demand in Britain: Issues of Sample Selection," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 64-86, March.
  12. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Ellwood, David T, 1979. "An Empirical Reconciliation of Micro and Grouped Estimates of the Demand for Housing," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(2), pages 199-205, May.
  13. Guy Michaels & Ferdinand Rauch & Stephen J. Redding, 2012. "Urbanization and Structural Transformation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 535-586.
  14. Hansen, Julia L. & Formby, John P. & Smith, W. James, 1998. "Estimating the Income Elasticity of Demand for Housing: A Comparison of Traditional and Lorenz-Concentration Curve Methodologies," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 328-342, December.
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