The End of Rent Control in Cambridge: Effects on the Housing Market

Lecture by David Autor and Parag Pathak on Jun. 9, 2010 at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. The policy of rent control in Cambridge, Massachusetts, ended in 1995, but the effects are still being studied. Parag Pathak and David Autor are conducting research sponsored by the Lincoln Institute on the effects of rent controls on pricing and investment activity in Cambridge. Their study uses a dataset of all residential housing market transactions and building permits, together with information on the location of each controlled unit obtained from historical records of the Cambridge Rent Control Board. The unique policy experiment created by the sudden end of this major housing market policy allows for an in depth look at the evolution of neighborhoods and gentrification in urban areas.