Want to Jump-Start the Housing Market? Get Rid of the Realtors!

Okay, okay, that's not quite the message of a new working paper by Panle Jia Barwick and Parag A. Pathak called "The Costs of Free Entry: An Empirical Study of Real Estate Agents in Greater Boston." But for those of us who have thought about the Realtor's role in the housing market, it's tempting to jump to that conclusion. Here's the full version of the study, and here's the abstract:

This paper studies the real estate brokerage industry in Greater Boston, an industry with low entry barriers and substantial turnover. Using a comprehensive dataset of agents and transactions from 1998-2007, we find that entry does not increase sales probabilities or reduce the time it takes for properties to sell, decreases the market share of experienced agents, and leads to a reduction in average service quality. These empirical patterns motivate an econometric model of the dynamic optimizing behavior of agents that serves as the foundation for simulating counterfactual market structures. A one-half reduction in the commission rate leads to a 73% increase in the number of houses each agent sells and benefits consumers by about $2 billion. House price appreciation in the first half of the 2000s accounts for 24% of overall entry and a 31% decline in the number of houses sold by each agent. Low cost programs that provide information about past agent performance have the potential to increase overall productivity and generate significant social savings.

Yes, This Blog Is Leaving NYTimes.com

As reported in Forbes on Friday, the Freakonomics blog will be leaving NYTimes.com on or around March 1 and returning to its indie roots.

A Pay-What-You-Want Experiment for the Freakonomics Movie

The producers and distributors of the Freakonomics film have set up a nice little experiment: a one-night sneak-preview screening (tonight) in several U.S. cities with a pay-what-you-want pricing scheme.

Freakonomics: The Movie Out Today on iTunes Only

The Freakonomics movie that premiered this spring at the Tribeca Film Festival is released to the public today -- but only on iTunes (and on some Video on Demand cable systems), nearly a month before it hits theaters.

Freakonomics Movie Trailer Released

We are a bit late in passing on the news, but the trailer for the forthcoming Freakonomics film has been released.

I Thought Dubner Was the Ultimate Genius – Until I Saw the Freakonomics Movie

Levitt's a fan of the documentary.

Freakonomics Premiere Roundup

The documentary based on Freakonomics is in theaters this fall. Variety calls it "a revelatory trip."

Freakonomics: The Movie Premieres Today

The Freakonomics documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival.

"Just Weird Enough to Work?" Freakonomics: The Movie Gets Distributor

The Freakonomics documentary gets a distributor.