DP10756 | The Housing Cost Disease

Publication Date

09/08/2015

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Abstract

We use a simple two-sector, life-cycle economy with bequests to explain the increasing wealth to income ratio, housing wealth and wealth inequality that have been observed in several countries over the long-run as a consequence of a rising labor efficiency in manufacturing (housing cost disease). When consumption inequality across households is sufficiently large, the housing cost disease has adverse effects on a measure of social welfare based on an egalitarian principle: the higher the housing's value appreciation, the lower the welfare benefit of a rising labor efficiency in manufacturing.