Skyscraper height and the business cycle: separating myth from reality

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This article is the first to rigorously test how skyscraper height and output co-move. Because builders can use their buildings for nonrational or nonpecuniary gains, it is widely believed that height competition occurs near the business cycle peaks. This would suggest that extreme building height is a leading indicator of GDP, since the tallest buildings are likely to be completed at or near the peak of a cycle. To test these claims, first we look at both the announcement and the completion dates for record-breaking buildings and find there is very little correlation with the business cycle. Second, cointegration and Granger causality tests show that while height and output are cointegrated, height does not Granger cause output. These results are robust for the United States, Canada, China and Hong Kong.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-160
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Economics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 8 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Economics and Econometrics


  • Granger causality
  • business cycle
  • cointegration
  • skyscraper height

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