Cultural Superstitions and Residential Real Estate Prices: Transaction-Level Evidence from the US Housing Market

Brad R. Humphreys, Adam Nowak, Yang Zhou
2016 Social Science Research Network  
In Chinese culture, the number 8 is considered lucky and 4 is considered unlucky. We analyze the relationship between the presence of 8 s and 4 s in addresses and transaction prices paid by Chinese home buyers and sellers in a novel setting, Seattle, Washington, from 1990 to 2015. In the absence of explicit identifiers for Chinese individuals, we develop a probabilistic model for identifying ethnicity based on name alone. The results indicate Chinese buyers pay a 1-2% premium for addresses that
more » ... for addresses that include an 8 and 1% less for properties with a 4 in the address. These results are not related to unobserved property quality as there is no premium when Chinese sell properties with an 8 in the address. These results suggest that some Chinese home buyers in Seattle retain their Chinese cultural superstitions. JEL Codes: D03, R21, R30
doi:10.2139/ssrn.2890655 fatcat:aocs64vih5db7bxifm5adcfj5a