Jessie Handbury

Jessie Handbury
  • Assistant Professor of Real Estate

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    431 Vance Hall, 3733 Spruce Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-6301

Research Interests: urban economics, industrial organization, international trade

Links: CV, Personal Website

Overview

Education

Ph.D. in Economics: Columbia University, 2013

B.A. in Economics-Mathematics: Columbia University, 2005

Academic Positions Held

Assistant Professor, The Wharton School: 2012-present

NBER Faculty Research Fellow, International Trade and Investment (ITI), 2014-

Penn IUR Faculty Fellow, 2014-

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Research

  • Jessie Handbury, School Food Policy Affects Everyone: Retail Responses to the National School Lunch Program.

  • Victor Couture, Jonathan Dingel, Allison Green, Jessie Handbury, Kevin Williams (Forthcoming), Measuring Movement and Social Contact with Smartphone Data: A Real-Time Application to COVID-19.

  • Jessie Handbury (2020), Urban Revival in America, Journal of Urban Economics.

  • Jessie Handbury, Ilya Rahkovsky, Molly Schnell, Hunt Allcott, Rebecca Diamond, Jean-Pierre Dube (2019), Food Deserts and the Causes of Nutritional Inequality, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 134 (4), pp. 1793-1844.

  • Jessie Handbury, Victor Couture, Cecile Gaubert, Erik Hurst, Income Growth and the Distributional Effects of Urban Spatial Sorting.

  • Jessie Handbury and David E. Weinstein (2014), Goods Prices and Availability in Cities, The Review of Economic Studies.

  • Jessie Handbury, David E. Weinstein, Tsutomu Watanabe (Working), How Much Do Official Price Indexes Tell Us About Inflation?.

    Abstract: Official price indexes, such as the CPI, are imperfect indicators of inflation calculated using ad hoc price formulae different from the theoretically well-founded inflation indexes favored by economists. This paper provides the first estimate of how accurately the CPI informs us about “true” inflation. We use the largest price and quantity dataset ever employed in economics to build a Törnqvist inflation index for Japan between 1989 and 2010. Our comparison of this true inflation index with the CPI indicates that the CPI bias is not constant but depends on the level of inflation. We show the informativeness of the CPI rises with inflation. When measured inflation is low (less than 2.4% per year) the CPI is a poor predictor of true inflation even over 12-month periods. Outside this range, the CPI is a much better measure of inflation. We find that the U.S. PCE Deflator methodology is superior to the Japanese CPI methodology but still exhibits substantial measurement error and biases rendering it a problematic predictor of inflation in low inflation regimes as well.

  • Jessie Handbury (Under Revision), Are Poor Cities Cheap for Everyone? Non-Homotheticity and the Cost of Living Across U.S. Cities.

    Abstract: Standard cost-of-living indexes assume that preferences are homothetic, ignoring the well-established fact that tastes vary with income. This paper considers how assuming homotheticity biases our estimates of spatial price indexes for consumers at different income levels. I use Nielsen household-level purchase data in over 500 categories of food products to calculate micro-founded income- and city-specific price indexes that account for non-homotheticity, as well as city-specific price indexes that do not. I find that the income-specific cross-city price indexes vary widely across income groups. Grocery costs are 20 percent lower in a poor city relative to a wealthy city for a low-income household, but they are 20 percent higher in the poor city for a high-income household. The homothetic price indexes perform well in predicting the cross-city variation in prices for low- and middle-income households, but poorly for high-income households. These results suggest that using homothetic cost-of-living indexes understate the relative price level in poor locations for rich households.. 

Teaching

Past Courses

  • FNCE2090 - Real Estate Investments

    This course provides an introduction to real estate with a focus on investment and financing issues. Project evaluation, financing strategies, investment decision making and real estate capital markets are covered. No prior knowledge of the industry is required, but students are expected to rapidly acquire a working knowledge of real estate markets. Classes are conducted in a standard lecture format with discussion required. The course contains cases that help students evaluate the impact of more complex financing and capital markets tools used in real estate. There are case studies and two midterms, (depending on instructor).

  • FNCE7210 - Real Estate Investments

    This course provides an introduction to real estate with a focus on investment and financing issues. Project evaluation, financing strategies, investment decision making and capital markets are covered. No prior knowledge of the industry is required, but students are expected to rapidly acquire a working knowledge of real estate markets. Classes are conducted in a standard lecture format with discussion required. The course contains cases that help students evaluate the impact of more complex financing and capital markets tools used in real estate. Lecture with discussion required.

  • REAL2090 - Real Estate Investments

    This course provides an introduction to real estate with a focus on investment and financing issues. Project evaluation, financing strategies, investment decision making and real estate capital markets are covered. No prior knowledge of the industry is required, but students are expected to rapidly acquire a working knowledge of real estate markets. Classes are conducted in a standard lecture format with discussion required. The course contains cases that help students evaluate the impact of more complex financing and capital markets tools used in real estate. There are case studies and two midterms, (depending on instructor).

  • REAL3990 - Independent Study

    All independent studies must be arranged and approved by a Real Estate department faculty member.

  • REAL7210 - Real Estate Investments

    This course provides an introduction to real estate with a focus on investment and financing issues. Project evaluation, financing strategies, investment decision making and capital markets are covered. No prior knowledge of the industry is required, but students are expected to rapidly acquire a working knowledge of real estate markets. Classes are conducted in a standard lecture format with discussion required. The course contains cases that help students evaluate the impact of more complex financing and capital markets tools used in real estate. Lecture with discussion required.

  • REAL8990 - Independent Study

    All independent studies must be arranged and approved by a Real Estate Department faculty member.

  • REAL9950 - Dissertation

In the News

Knowledge at Wharton

Activity

In the News

COVID-19 and the Myth of Urban Flight

A small percentage of city dwellers are flocking to the suburbs during the coronavirus pandemic, but that won’t reverse a 20-year trend toward urbanization in the U.S., according to Wharton’s Jessie Handbury. Read More

Knowledge at Wharton - 12/1/2020
All News

Wharton Magazine

Wharton’s Global Impact: From Hong Kong to San Juan

The More Than Ever tour travels to São Paulo, Wharton Alumni Angels extends its reach, a trip to the Canadian Rockies, and more

Wharton Magazine - 04/19/2019