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Re-evaluating the impact of immigration on the U.S. rental housing market

Jamie Sharpe

Journal of Urban Economics, 2019, vol. 111, issue C, 14-34

Abstract: Previous studies provide evidence that immigration increases housing prices and rents. To deal with endogenous location choices of immigrants, these studies often use a shift-share instrumental variable approach. This approach, however, fails to adequately account for the natural attraction of immigrants to cities with thriving economies. High-immigration cities provide more economic opportunities and thus exhibit persistently rising housing prices and rents. This paper improves upon the traditional empirical approach by explicitly controlling for initial city characteristics that lead to both increases in immigration and the evolution of rents. Results suggest that after controlling for endogenous sorting of immigrants, the positive effect of immigration on rents is attenuated. While the impact of immigrant inflows is smaller, an extension of the main results suggests the effects of immigration on rents remains larger than that of native inflows.

Keywords: Immigration; Rental housing; Housing prices (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J61 R23 R31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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