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Cultural Superstitions and Residential Real Estate Prices: Transaction-level Evidence from the US Housing Market

Author

Listed:
  • Brad R. Humphreys

    (West Virginia University, Department of Economics)

  • Adam Nowak

    (West Virginia University, Department of Economics)

  • Yang Zhou

    (West Virginia University, Department of Economics)

Abstract

In Chinese culture, the number 8 is considered lucky and 4 is considered unlucky. We analyze the relationship between the presence of 8s and 4s in addresses and transaction prices paid by Chinese home buyers and sellers in a novel setting, Seattle, Washington, from 1990 to 2015. In the absence of explicit identifiers for Chinese individuals, we develop a probabilistic model for identifying ethnicity based on name alone. The results indicate Chinese buyers pay a 1-2% premium for addresses that include an 8 and 1% less for properties with a 4 in the address. These results are not related to unobserved property quality as there is no premium when Chinese sell properties with an 8 in the address. These results suggest that some Chinese home buyers in Seattle retain their Chinese cultural superstitions.

Suggested Citation

  • Brad R. Humphreys & Adam Nowak & Yang Zhou, 2016. "Cultural Superstitions and Residential Real Estate Prices: Transaction-level Evidence from the US Housing Market," Working Papers 16-27, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
  • Handle: RePEc:wvu:wpaper:16-27
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    File URL: http://busecon.wvu.edu/phd_economics/pdf/16-27.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ng, Travis & Chong, Terence & Du, Xin, 2010. "The value of superstitions," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 293-309, June.
    2. Woo, Chi-Keung & Horowitz, Ira & Luk, Stephen & Lai, Aaron, 2008. "Willingness to pay and nuanced cultural cues: Evidence from Hong Kong's license-plate auction market," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 35-53, February.
    3. Steven C. Bourassa & Vincent S. Peng, 1999. "Hedonic Prices and House Numbers: The Influence of Feng Shui," International Real Estate Review, Asian Real Estate Society, vol. 2(1), pages 79-93.
    4. Nicole M. Fortin & Andrew J. Hill & Jeff Huang, 2014. "Superstition In The Housing Market," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(3), pages 974-993, July.
    5. Yang, Zili, 2011. "“Lucky” numbers, unlucky consumers," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 692-699.
    6. Shum, Matthew & Sun, Wei & Ye, Guangliang, 2014. "Superstition and “lucky” apartments: Evidence from transaction-level data," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1), pages 109-117.
    7. Agarwal, Sumit & He, Jia & Liu, Haoming & Png, I. P. L. & Sing, Tien Foo & Wong, Wei-Kang, 2016. "Superstition, Conspicuous Spending, and Housing Markets: Evidence from Singapore," IZA Discussion Papers 9899, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Donald R. Haurin & Stuart S. Rosenthal, 2009. "Language, Agglomeration and Hispanic Homeownership," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 37(2), pages 155-183.
    9. John P. Harding & Stuart S. Rosenthal & C. F. Sirmans, 2003. "Estimating Bargaining Power in the Market for Existing Homes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(1), pages 178-188, February.
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    11. Matthew Gentzkow & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2010. "What Drives Media Slant? Evidence From U.S. Daily Newspapers," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 35-71, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Adam Nowak & Juan Sayago-Gomez, 2017. "Homeowner Preferences after September 11th, a Microdata Approach," Working Papers 17-17, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Superstition; property value; supervised learning; hedonic price model;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • R21 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Housing Demand
    • R30 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - General

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