Year of Publication

2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Business and Economics

Department

Economics

First Advisor

Dr. Glenn C. Blomquist

Abstract

This dissertation consists of two essays on housing, the first on estimation strategies for the valuation of a local disamenity and the second on the structure of the market for the services of real estate brokers.

The purpose of the first essay is to apply hedonic and quasi-experimental methods to measure the value of any disamenity caused by communication antennas. Crucial to unbiased estimates is accounting for both endogenous antenna location and changes in unobservable housing and neighborhood characteristics. Spatial fixed effects are used to control for unobservable characteristics that can influence the location decisions of residents and the location of antennas. Panel data techniques are used to address both time invariant and time varying unobservables and to account for possible changes in the hedonic price function after construction of a nearby antenna. The estimates indicate that houses near communication antennas sell less than comparable houses not located near a communication antenna, and also highlight a shortcoming of applying the difference-in-differences technique to value a local disamenity when houses are affected by the presence of multiple sites.

The second essay compares the performance of brand name franchised and independent real estate brokers with respect to list price, sales price, time on the market, and prevalence in areas with more out-of-state buyers using techniques that control for the different types of agents that choose to affiliate with franchised real estate brokerage firms. The results indicate that most of the difference in the sales price and the time it takes to locate a buyer can be explained by the types of agents that choose to affiliate with franchised brokerage firms, and that on average weaker agents choose to affiliate with franchised real estate firms. In addition, there is an indication that properties in areas with larger shares of out-of-state residents are more likely to be sold by a franchised broker. This result is consistent with the industrial organization literature on franchising that says franchising should be more prevalent in areas where consumers are less familiar with the local market.

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