The Health Consequence of Rising Housing Prices in China

38 Pages Posted: 22 Oct 2020 Last revised: 20 Jun 2021

See all articles by Yuanwei Xu

Yuanwei Xu

Leibniz Universität Hannover

Feicheng Wang

University of Groningen; Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), Bonn

Date Written: March 24, 2021


China has experienced a rapid boom in real estate prices in the last two decades, leading to a substantial increase in living costs and heavy financial burdens on households, which may subsequently induce health problems. This paper examines the health consequence of rising housing prices by exploiting spatial and temporal variation in housing price appreciation linked to individual-level health data in China from 2000 to 2011. Using an instrumental variable approach, we find robust evidence that increases in housing prices significantly raise the probability of residents having chronic diseases. This negative health impact is more pronounced among individuals from low-income families, households that purchased rather than inherited or were allocated the home, and individuals with a rural registry. Exploring various possible channels, we find that marriage market competition exacerbates the negative health effects, particularly for males and parents with young adult sons. We also find evidence that housing price appreciation induces negative health consequences through increased work intensity, higher mental stress, elevated tobacco use and reduced sleep time. This paper underlines the unintended health consequences of the real estate market prosperity.

Keywords: Housing Prices, Chronic Diseases, Health, Marriage Competition, China

JEL Classification: G51, I10, I12, R21, R31

Suggested Citation

Xu, Yuanwei and Wang, Feicheng, The Health Consequence of Rising Housing Prices in China (March 24, 2021). Available at SSRN: or

Yuanwei Xu (Contact Author)

Leibniz Universität Hannover ( email )

Welfengarten 1
D-30167 Hannover, 30167

Feicheng Wang

University of Groningen ( email )

Groningen, 9717 JA

Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), Bonn

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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