[Lecture] Housing Booms and Shirking
Speaker: Wenlan Qian (Associate Professor of Finance, National University of Singapore)
Time: Mar, 27 (Tuesday), 16:40
Venue: N302, Econ Building, Siming Campus
Abstract: Using a unique credit card dataset obtained from a leading Chinese commercial bank with 10% credit card market share, we study the impact of house price increase on individual shirking behavior at work. We use the type and actual time stamps of 9.3 million credit card transactions by over 200,000 card holders to identify non-work-related transactions during work hours. After positive shocks to house prices, treated individuals experienced an immediate and permanent increase (by 8% per month) in their propensity to use credit cards for non-work-related transactions during work hours. We do not find any effect for workers in the neighboring, unaffected cities or among retirees and the unemployed in the “shocked” cities. The post-shock response is driven by homeowners, with an even greater impact among owners with a higher housing wealth (i.e., those with multiple homes). Renters, on the other hand, experienced no change in the post-shock period. Consistent with increased shirking and lower productivity interpretation, further analyses find no evidence of the treatment group working harder in other hours of the day and moreover the response is stronger among workers with lower work incentives. Overall, findings in this paper provide novel insight on the real impact of housing booms by influencing work effort choices.