NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Yin Liu

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Working Papers

April 2012Status Competition and Housing Prices
with Shang-Jin Wei, Xiaobo Zhang: w18000
While in standard housing economics housing is regarded as an asset and a consumption good, we study in this paper the consequences for housing prices if housing is also a status good. More concretely, if a family's housing wealth relative to others is an important marker for relative status in the marriage market, then competition for marriage partners might motivate people to pursue a bigger and more expensive house/apartment beyond its direct consumption (and financial investment) value. To test the empirical validity of the hypothesis, we have to overcome the usual difficulty of not being able to observe the intensity of status competition. Our innovation is to explore regional variations in the sex ratio for the pre-marital age cohort across China, which likely has triggered variatio...

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