Gimme shelter! rents have risen, not fallen, since World War II
Two recent studies have concluded that for roughly four decades the measure of inflation for rents in the U.S. consumer price index was substantially underestimated. Why should this mismeasurement be of concern? In ?Gimme Shelter! Rents Have Risen, Not Fallen, Since World War II,? Len Nakamura explains that rents are important in measuring the price of housing services for homeowners as well as renters. They are also the main standard against which market participants and others weigh the reasonableness of house prices. In addition, such mismeasurement affected the estimated rate of overall ...
Measuring American rents: a revisionist history.
Until the end of 1977, the method used to measure changes in rent of primary residence in the U.S. consumer price index (CPI) tended to omit price changes when units changed tenants or were temporarily vacant. Since such units typically had more rapid increases in rents than average units, omitting them biased inflation estimates downward. Beginning in 1978, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) implemented a series of methodological changes that reduced this bias. The authors use data from the American Housing Survey to check the success of the corrections. They compare estimates of the ...
The CPI for rents: a case of understated inflation
Until the end of 1977, the U.S. consumer price index for rents tended to omit rent increases when units had a change of tenants or were vacant, biasing inflation estimates downward. Beginning in 1978, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) implemented a series of methodological changes that reduced this nonresponse bias, but substantial bias remained until 1985. The authors set up a model of nonresponse bias, parameterize it, and test it using a BLS microdata set for rents. From 1940 to 1985, the official BLS CPI-W price index for tenant rents rose 3.6 percent annually; the authors argue that ...
Compensating variation in wages and rents
Informality and rent-seeking bureaucracies in a model of long-run growth
This paper explores the links among growth, the informal economy, and rent-seeking bureaucracies. The presence of congestion associated with the enforcement of property right implies that informality can be useful. Whether bureaucratic rent-seeking is detrimental to growth then depends on how good a substitute informality is to production in the formal sector. In order to create profits which can be appropriated, rent-seeking bureaucrats limit entry into the formal economy. As a result, firms operate in the informal sector even when the cost of informality is high, in which case lower growth ...
Housing Supply and Affordability: Evidence from Rents, Housing Consumption and Household Location
We examine how housing supply constraints affect housing affordability, which we define as the quality-adjusted price of housing services. In our dynamic model, supply constraints increase the price of housing services by only half has much as the purchase price of a home, since the purchase price responds to expected future increases in rent as well as contemporaneous rent increases. Households respond to changes in the price of housing services by altering their housing consumption and location choices, but only by a small amount. We evaluate these predictions using common measures of ...
Why Rent When You Can Buy?
Using a model with bilateral trades, we explain why agents prefer to rent the goods they can afford to buy. Absent bilateral trading frictions, renting has no role even with uncertainty about future valuations. With pairwise meetings, agents prefer to sell (or buy) durable goods whenever they have little doubt on the future value of the good. As uncertainty grows, renting becomes more prevalent. Pairwise matching alone is sufficient to explain why agents prefer to rent, and there is no need to introduce random matching, information asymmetries, or other market frictions.
Landlords and tenants