Housing Rent Dynamics and Rent Regulation in St. Petersburg (1880-1917)

46 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2019

See all articles by Konstantin Kholodilin

Konstantin Kholodilin

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Leonid Limonov

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Sofie R. Waltl

Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)

Date Written: February 14, 2019

Abstract

This article studies the evolution of housing rents in St. Petersburg between 1880 and 1917, covering an eventful period of Russian and world history. We collect and digitize over 5,000 rental advertisements from a local newspaper, which we use together with geo-coded addresses and detailed structural characteristics to construct a quality-adjusted rent price index in continuous time. We provide the first pre-war and pre-Soviet index based on market data for any Russian housing market. In 1915, one of the world’s earliest rent control and tenant protection policies was introduced in response to soaring prices following the outbreak of World War I. We analyze the impact of this policy: before the regulation rents were increasing at a similarly rapid pace to other consumer prices; the policy reversed that trend. We find evidence for official compliance with the policy, document a rise in tenure duration and strongly increased rent affordability for workers after the introduction of the policy. We conclude that the immediate prelude to the October Revolution was indeed characterized by economic turmoil, but rent affordability and rising rents were no longer the dominating problems.

Keywords: Rental Market; Rent Regulation; Intra-Urban Rent Dynamics; Hedonic Rent Price Index; Economic History; Pre-Soviet Russia; October Revolution

JEL Classification: C14; C43; N93; O18

Suggested Citation

Kholodilin, Konstantin and Limonov, Leonid and Waltl, Sofie R., Housing Rent Dynamics and Rent Regulation in St. Petersburg (1880-1917) (February 14, 2019). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 213/EC/2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3334471 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3334471

Konstantin Kholodilin (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Leonid Limonov

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Sofie R. Waltl

Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) ( email )

11, Porte des Sciences
Campus Belval – Maison des Sciences Humaines
Esch-sur-Alzette, L-4366
Luxembourg

HOME PAGE: http://www.liser.lu

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