The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 723–753

Skyscraper Height


DOI: 10.1007/s11146-010-9274-z

Cite this article as:
Barr, J. J Real Estate Finan Econ (2012) 45: 723. doi:10.1007/s11146-010-9274-z


This paper investigates the determinants of skyscraper height. First a simple model is provided where potential developers desire not only profits but also social status. In equilibrium, height is a function of both the costs and benefits of construction and the heights of surrounding buildings. Using data from New York City, I empirically estimate skyscraper height over the 20th century. Via spatial regressions, I find evidence for height competition, which increases during boom times. In addition, I provide estimates of which buildings are economically “too tall” and by how many floors.


SkyscrapersBuilding heightStatusNew York City

JEL Classification


Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsRutgers UniversityNewarkUSA