NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Metropolitan Land Values and Housing Productivity

David Albouy, Gabriel Ehrlich

NBER Working Paper No. 18110
Issued in May 2012
NBER Program(s):   LS   PE

We present the first cross-sectional index of directly-measured land values by metropolitan area, which we use to estimate a housing cost function. This specification incorporates non-land input prices, fits the data well, and passes several econometric tests, validating our design and data. It indicates lands national average cost share is one-third, and the elasticity-of-substitution between inputs is one-half. Greater geographic and regulatory constraints predict housing prices substantially higher than predicted by input prices, supporting the prediction that constraints reduce production efficiency. Estimated housing productivity falls with city population and density. The efficiency costs of typical land-use regulations appear to outweigh associated quality-of-life benefits.

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This paper was revised on January 12, 2016

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18110

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