This article discusses the provision of sophisticated architecture from the perspective of welfare economics. Given that rational real estate investors do not take into account the external effects of building design quality on the neighborhood, there is a risk of underinvestment into the external appearance of buildings in the market equilibrium. Whether public interventions as well as recent attempts to promote urban economic development by architectural landmark projects are justified, however, essentially depends on the existence of significant spillovers. On this background, we discuss evidence on architectural externalities available for Berlin, Germany and provide first estimates of aggregated external benefits. © 2010 Verein für Socialpolitik
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