NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Time-To-Plan Lags for Commercial Construction Projects

Jonathan N. Millar, Stephen D. Oliner, Daniel E. Sichel

NBER Working Paper No. 19408
Issued in September 2013
NBER Program(s):   DAE   EFG   ME   PR

We use a large project-level dataset to estimate the length of the planning period for commercial construction projects in the United States. We find that these time-to-plan lags are long, averaging about 17 months when we aggregate the projects without regard to size and more than 28 months when we weight the projects by their construction cost. The full distribution of time-to-plan lags is very wide, and we relate this variation to the characteristics of the project and its location. In addition, we show that time-to-plan lags lengthened by 3 to 4 months, on average, over our sample period (1999 to 2010). Regulatory factors are associated with the variation in planning lags across locations, and we present anecdotal evidence that links at least some of the lengthening over time to heightened regulatory scrutiny.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19408

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