Folk Customs and Home Improvement Decisions


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Wen-Chieh Wu, Yu-Chun Ma, Steven C. Bourassa

317 / 341




International Real Estate Review


In this paper, we examine whether Chinese folk customs and taboos have impacts on the home improvement decisions of Taiwanese homeowners. Based on traditional Chinese culture, we choose the Year of the Dragon and Widow Year as indicators of auspicious (fortune) and inauspicious (taboo) periods, respectively. With the use of a Heckman two-stage estimation approach, our empirical results provide evidence that traditional Chinese folk customs and taboos indeed have important roles in decisions on home improvement. We find that the likelihood that a homeowner will make home improvements is significantly reduced in the so-called taboo period. Moreover, we find that expenditures on home improvements increase in the so-called auspicious period, particularly in areas outside the capital city region. In addition to considering the impacts of folk customs on home improvement decisions, this paper contributes to the literature by establishing a theoretical model that reflects the fact that homeowners have dual roles as both consumers and suppliers of housing.

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Folk Customs, Home Improvement and Maintenance, Heckman Two-stage Model

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