Skyscraper Height and the Business Cycle

Thursday, January 3, 2013: 1:00 PM
La Galerie 5 (New Orleans Marriott)
Jason Barr, Rutgers University–Newark
"Skyscraper Height and the Business Cycle: International Time Series Evidence" by Jason Barr, Rutgers University, Newark, Bruce Mizrach, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and Kusum Mundra, Rutgers University, is the first to rigorously test how height and output co-move. Because builders can use their buildings for non-rational or
non-pecuniary gains, it is widely believed that (a) the most severe
forms of height competition occur near the business cycle peaks and (b)
that extreme height are examples of developers “gone wild.” We find
virtually no support for either of these popularly held claims. First we
look at both the announcement and completion dates for record breaking
buildings and find there is very little correlation with the business
cycle. Second, cointegration and Granger causality tests show that
height and output are cointegrated and that height does not Granger
cause output. These results are robust for the United States, Canada,
China and Hong Kong.
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