Does Rent Control Reduce Segregation?

28 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2003

See all articles by Edward L. Glaeser

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: November 2002

Abstract

Advocates of rent control often argue that rent control aids the mixing of rich and poor, and perhaps of the races as well. Economic theory does not necessarily predict that rent control will reduce segregation. The best case for rent control as an aid to integration is that it creates pockets of low rent (and low quality) apartments in expensive cities. However, by creating an excess of demand over supply, rent control ensures that apartments will be allocated on the basis of landlord preferences, which may in fact be segregationist. Furthermore, when rent control induces poor renters to live in rich cities, those poor renters are generally older, long term renters, who are less likely to have young children living at home and are less likely to benefit most from integration. Empirically, rent control seems to have allowed some poorer (and older) tenants to live in expensive Manhattan, but rent control in the declining cities of New Jersey seems to have increased the isolation of the poor. Rent control is a very socially costly means of occasionally getting integration, and housing vouchers or supply-side policies seem likely to be much more effective.

Suggested Citation

Glaeser, Edward L., Does Rent Control Reduce Segregation? (November 2002). Harvard Institute Research Working Paper No. 1985. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=348084 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.348084

Edward L. Glaeser (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Room 315A
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2150 (Phone)
617-496-1722 (Fax)

Brookings Institution

1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036-2188
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
536
Abstract Views
2,791
rank
50,040
PlumX Metrics