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Skyscraper Height

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  • Jason Barr

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Abstract

This paper investigates the determinants of skyscraper height. First a simple model is provided where potential developers desire not only profits but also status, as measured by their rank in the height hierarchy. The optimal height in equilibrium is a function of the cost and benefits of building as well as the height of surrounding buildings. Using data from New York City, I empirically estimate skyscraper height over the 20th century. The results show that the quest for status has increased building height by about 15 floors above the non-status profit maximizing height. In addition, I provide estimates of which buildings are "too tall" and by how many floors.

Suggested Citation

  • Jason Barr, 2008. "Skyscraper Height," Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark 2008-002, Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark.
  • Handle: RePEc:run:wpaper:2008-002
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    File URL: http://www.ncas.rutgers.edu/workingpaper20082
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jason Barr, 2010. "Skyscrapers and the Skyline: Manhattan, 1895-2004," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 38(3), pages 567-597.
    2. Kwong-Wing Chau & S.K. Wong & Y. Yau & A.K.C. Yeung, 2007. "Determining Optimal Building Height," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 44(3), pages 591-607, March.
    3. Bar-Ilan, Avner & Strange, William C, 1996. "Investment Lags," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 610-622, June.
    4. Ed Hopkins & Tatiana Kornienko, 2004. "Running to Keep in the Same Place: Consumer Choice as a Game of Status," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(4), pages 1085-1107, September.
    5. Krishna, Vijay, 2009. "Auction Theory," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 2, number 9780123745071, August.
    6. Case, Karl E & Shiller, Robert J, 1989. "The Efficiency of the Market for Single-Family Homes," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 125-137, March.
    7. Kerry D. Vandell & Jonathan S. Lane, 1989. "The Economics of Architecture and Urban Design: Some Preliminary Findings," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 17(2), pages 235-260.
    8. Helsley, Robert W. & Strange, William C., 2008. "A game-theoretic analysis of skyscrapers," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 49-64, July.
    9. John Doiron & James D. Shilling & C.F. Sirmans, 1992. "Do Market Rents Reflect the Value of Special Building Features? The Case of Office Atriums," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 7(2), pages 147-156.
    10. Strange William C., 1995. "Information, Holdouts, and Land Assembly," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 317-332, November.
    11. Brueckner, Jan K. & Saavedra, Luz A., 2001. "Do Local Governments Engage in Strategic Property-Tax Competition?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 54(2), pages 203-230, June.
    12. Peter F. Colwell & M. Shahid Ebrahim, 1997. "A Note on the Optimal Design of an Office Building," Journal of Real Estate Research, American Real Estate Society, vol. 14(2), pages 169-174.
    13. Titman, Sheridan, 1985. "Urban Land Prices under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(3), pages 505-514, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Valentina Antoniucci & Giuliano Marella, 2014. "Torri incompiute: i costi di produzione della rigenerazione urbana in contesti ad alta densità," SCIENZE REGIONALI, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2014(3), pages 117-124.
    2. Jason Barr, 2013. "Skyscrapers And Skylines: New York And Chicago, 1885–2007," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 369-391, August.
    3. Jan K. Brueckner & Ruchi Singh, 2018. "Stringency of Land-Use Regulation: Building Heights in US Cities," CESifo Working Paper Series 6978, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. repec:krk:eberjl:v:4:y:2016:i:2:p:37-49 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Nestor Garza & Colin Lizieri, 2012. "Skyscrapers and the economy," ERSA conference papers ersa12p414, European Regional Science Association.
    6. Barr, Jason & Cohen, Jeffrey P., 2014. "The floor area ratio gradient: New York City, 1890–2009," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 110-119.
    7. Hans R. A. Koster & Piet Rietveld & Jos N. van Ommerren, 2011. "Is the Sky the Limit? An Analysis of High-Rise Office Buildings," SERC Discussion Papers 0086, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Skyscrapers; building height; status; New York City;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • N62 - Economic History - - Manufacturing and Construction - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • R33 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Nonagricultural and Nonresidential Real Estate Markets

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