What do economists know about the effect of rent control on housing maintenance?
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Economists' views concerning the effect of rent control on the maintenance of controlled apartments are based on extremely simple models of housing markets and rent control ordinances and on casual empiricism. This paper shows that the models are seriously deficient in that they ignore essential features of actual rent control ordinances and important responses to them. When these features and responses are taken into account, the effect of rent control on maintenance of the controlled stock is theoretically ambiguous. The paper also shows that the few systematic empirical studies have serious flaws. Therefore, there is no basis for economists' strongly-held belief that rent control leads to worse maintenance.
KeywordsEmpirical Study Simple Model Essential Feature Housing Market Casual Empiricism
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