Grace’s research centers on the implications of behavioral economics and psychology
on our understanding of housing consumption and the housing market. Her first line of
research focuses on situations where behaviors of housing market participants might
deviate from predictions of classical economic theories and consequently have an impact
on market outcomes. Her research utilizes a combination of market, survey and
experimental data. In her studies of the Hong Kong housing market, she derives her
conclusions from within-city comparisons of representative panel data sets, which
alleviate comparability and selection problems in much of the housing literature. Current
projects look into how well we predict the worth of our own homes and which factors
affect our predictions. These predictions are commonly used as a proxy for actual house
wealth in economic and other research and are shown to be significantly related to
home-selling behaviors in an experimental setting.
Her second line of research explores the potential impact of differences and inequality
in housing consumption as a widening income gap is translated to a consumption gap.
Combining information on reported well-being measures, time use and housing
characteristics, she discovers that while neither the amount of time spent at home nor
the per square foot price of one’s residence relates significantly to time use patterns,
experienced emotions or general happiness; the amount of space per person plays a more
important role. Homeownership turns out to be a poor predictor of experienced emotions,
the amount of time – or quality time – with family, general happiness or civil
participation such as volunteering or religious activities. More surprisingly, it relates
to a much higher level of reported pain derived from home.
Housing & Happiness
Housing - Other