Discussion paper

DP10756 The Housing Cost Disease

We use a simple two-sector, life-cycle economy with bequests to explain the increasing wealth to income ratio, housing wealth and wealth inequality that have been observed in several countries over the long-run as a consequence of a rising labor efficiency in manufacturing (housing cost disease). When consumption inequality across households is sufficiently large, the housing cost disease has adverse effects on a measure of social welfare based on an egalitarian principle: the higher the housing's value appreciation, the lower the welfare benefit of a rising labor efficiency in manufacturing.


Reichlin, P and N Borri (2015), ‘DP10756 The Housing Cost Disease‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 10756. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp10756