After World War I rent control became a cornerstone of housing policy in many European countries, resulting in quantity constraints on the demand for housing. The theory on complete demand systems provides a framework for analyzing the effects of these policies on consumption. As a test case, a demand model is estimated to calculate virtual rent prices for interwar Belgium. The results are well in line with historical evidence, providing insight into the extent of rationing. Simulations with the demand model show that the severe rent restrictions especially favored expenditures on food.

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The Journal of Economic History
Erasmus School of Economics

Bettendorf, L., & Buyst, E. (1997). Rent Control and Virtual Prices: A Case Study for Interwar Belgium. The Journal of Economic History. Retrieved from