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.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2008|
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