While green-labeled buildings have been found to sell at a premium compared to nearby controls with similar observable characteristics, the voluntary nature of the labeling decision implies green-labeled buildings may have different unmeasured characteristics that may account for at least a portion of the premium. Therefore, it is unclear whether green-labeled building premiums are a causal effect of the labels. I use data on repeat sales transactions and detailed hedonic characteristics to test whether green-labeled office buildings were selling at a premium before they were labeled, and combine these results with post-labeling price premium estimates to identify realized cost-benefit ratios for green-labeling policies. The data suggest the causal net benefits of green labels range from $11.50-$19.95 per square foot. The estimated net benefits are smaller than previous estimates that have focused solely on the benefits and ignored the potential biases from nonrandom selection.

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Department of Economics
Carleton Economics Working Papers (CEWP)
Department of Economics

Papineau, M. (2015). Pre-Labeling Market Valuations in the U.S. Green Building Stock and the Causal Effect of Green Labels (No. CEP 15-05). Carleton Economics Working Papers (CEWP). Department of Economics.