Penn State-Federal Reserve Board Conference on Frictions in Real Estate and Infrastructure Investment

Call For Papers Conference on Frictions in Real Estate and Infrastructure Investment
–Insights from New Data and Methods–

Date: November 2-3, 2023

Venue: Conference Facility at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C.

Organizer: Borrelli Institute for Real Estate Studies at Penn State Smeal College of Business

Co-Organizer: Federal Reserve Board (Raven Molloy and Joseph Nichols)

Overview: The highest and best use of land in the United States is changing in numerous ways. The growing popularity of remote work arrangements has reduced the demand for commercial real estate in many traditional job centers. Population growth, demographic changes, and shifts in the desirability of different locations have altered the location of housing demand. Growing environmental risks require either expensive retrofits to make existing buildings more resilient or the relocation of economic activity to more sustainable locations. A transition to green energy involves substantial changes to infrastructure in place. The economic responses to these changes in the optimal location and quality of structures have been slow and uneven. Challenges in adapting to changes in optimal land use can be seen in the decreasing affordability of housing, sluggish productivity growth in the construction sector, and underinvestment in infrastructure. In part, slow responsiveness to shifts in optimal land use is related to frictions in real estate and infrastructure investment. Such frictions include local resistance to higher building density or changes in the character of the built environment, shortages of skilled labor in high-demand locations, coordination issues with public investment providers, and many more. At the same time, we have seen an explosion in granular information about the economy, the built environment, and land use, along with innovative analytical tools to leverage those new data sources. These data sources and tools can help identify the underlying frictions impeding real estate investment, as well as improve our understanding of how and why optimal land use is changing.

The objective of this conference is to bring together scholars at the cutting edge of research related to changes in the optimal location and quality of structures, the frictions impeding adjustment to these changes, and the effects of these frictions. In doing so, we also hope to showcase the use of new data and innovative analytical methods, as well as research that provides practical insights for policymakers and practitioners.

The 1½ day conference will be structured to facilitate active exchanges between all participants. It will include research paper presentations in an interactive seminar format, lunch-time keynote addresses, and panel discussions. The panel discussions will bring together academics, policy experts, and industry practitioners to discuss practical topics relevant to the conference. Presenters will have their travel and lodging costs reimbursed up to $1,200.

Topics: The committee welcomes studies that provide insights into topics broadly related to the conference theme. Specific topics may include—but are not limited to—residential and commercial real estate, infrastructure investment and financing, housing affordability, residential and commercial mortgage markets, the effects of climate change on real estate markets, intermediation in real estate markets, urban economics, construction economics, and housing policy. The committee is especially interested in research that addresses these topics using novel data sets and/or innovative methods.

Paper Submission Procedure: Please submit your work using the Google form HERE.

Submission Deadline: July 1, 2023

Authors will be notified by: September 1, 2023

Scientific Committee:

  • Brent Ambrose (Penn State University)
  • Raven Molloy (Federal Reserve Board)
  • Joe Nichols, (Federal Reserve Board)
  • Liang Peng, (Penn State University)
  • Jacob Sagi (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill)
  • Jenny Schuetz (Brookings Institution)
  • Eva Steiner, (Penn State University)
  • Jiro Yoshida, (Penn State University)

Conference Website: https://sites.psu.edu/freii/

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