The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 723-753

First online:

Skyscraper Height

  • Jason BarrAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, Rutgers University Email author 

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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.


Skyscrapers Building height Status New York City

JEL Classification

D44 N62 R33