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Housing Search Frictions: Evidence from Detailed Search Data and a Field Experiment

Peter Bergman, Eric W. Chan, Adam Kapor

NBER Working Paper No. 27209
Issued in May 2020
NBER Program(s):Economics of Education, Industrial Organization, Public Economics

We randomized school quality information onto the listings of a nationwide housing website for low-income families. We use this variation and data on families' search and location choices to estimate a model of housing search and neighborhood choice that incorporates imperfect information and potentially biased beliefs. We find that imperfect information and biased beliefs cause families to live in neighborhoods with lower-performing, more segregated schools. Families underestimate school quality conditional on neighborhood characteristics. If we had ignored this information problem, we would have estimated that families value school quality relative to their commute downtown by half that of the truth.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27209

 
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