Maisy Wong

Maisy Wong
  • James T. Riady Associate Professor of Real Estate

Contact Information

  • office Address:

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

Research Interests: urban economics, real estate finance, development economics

Links: CV, Personal Website

Overview

Education

Ph.D. in Economics: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2008; B.A. in Economics: University of California, Berkeley, 2003

Academic Positions Held

Associate Professor, The Wharton School: 2017-Present

Assistant Director, Grayken Program in International Real Estate at the Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center of the Wharton School: 2017- 2021

Assistant Professor, The Wharton School: 2008-2017

Other Positions

Consultant, World Bank (Jakarta Office), 2003-2011

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Research

  • Mariaflavia Harari and Maisy Wong (Draft), Colonial Legacy and Land Market Formality. Abstract

    We study the role of Dutch colonial institutions on urban development for the megacity of Jakarta, Indonesia. Using historical maps of Dutch settlements and a rich granular database, we implement a boundary discontinuity design comparing locations within 200 meters of Dutch boundaries. We find that historical Dutch areas today have significantly lower parcel density, are more likely to have formally registered parcels, and have more regular parcel layout, pointing to the importance of planning and mapping. Dutch settlements are also more likely to appear formal, as per a photographic index that ranks the appearance of neighborhoods. More broadly, Dutch areas are 11 percentage points more likely to have tall buildings (with more than 3 floors) and have 17 log points higher assessed land values. We consider channels such as natural advantage, direct Dutch investments, and land market institutions.

  • Samuel Bazzi, Arya Gaduh, Alexander Rothenberg, Maisy Wong, Unity in Diversity? How Intergroup Contact Can Foster Nation Building. Revision requested at the American Economic Review. 2018.
  • Maisy Wong, Inter-generational Mobility in Slums: Evidence from Field Surveys in Indonesia. Conditional Acceptance at the Asian Development Review. 2017.
  • Mariaflavia Harari and Maisy Wong (Work In Progress), Slum Upgrading and Long-run Urban Development: Evidence from Indonesia. Abstract

    Developing countries face massive urbanization and slum upgrading is a popular policy to improve shelter for many. Yet, preserving slums at the expense of formal developments can raise concerns of misallocation of land. We provide causal long-term impacts of the 1969-1984 KIP program, which provided basic upgrades to 5 million residents covering 25% of land in Jakarta, Indonesia. We assemble high-resolution data on program boundaries and 2015 outcomes to address program selection bias. On average, KIP areas today have lower land values, shorter buildings, and are more informal, per a novel photographs-based slum index. The negative effects are concentrated within 5km of the CBD. We develop a spatial equilibrium model to characterize where the welfare implications of KIP are the largest. Counterfactuals suggest 77% of the welfare effects from removing KIP stem from land in the center and highlight how to mitigate losses to displaced residents. JEL Classifications: R14, R31, R4.

    Description
    2nd round R&R, Review of Economic Studies
  • Maisy Wong (2016), CMBS and Conflicts of Interest: Evidence from Ownership Changes of Servicers, Journal of Finance. Abstract

    Self-dealing is potentially important but difficult to measure. I study special servicers in commercial mortgage-backed securities(CMBS),who sell distressed assets on behalf of bondholders. Around 2010, ownership changes for four major servicers raised tunneling concerns that they may direct benefits to new owners’ affiliates (buyers and service providers). Loans liquidated after ownership changes have greater loss rates than before (8 percentage point, $2.3 billion in losses), relative to other (placebo) servicers. Together with a case study that tracks self-dealing purchases, the findings point to potential steering conflicts that could incentivize tunneling through fees to service providers

    Related
  • Maisy Wong, Parag A. Pathak, Panle Jia Barwick (2016), Conflicts of Interest and Steering in Residential Brokerage, American Economic Journal: Applied Economics. Abstract

    This paper documents uniformity in real estate commission rates offered to buyers’ agents using 653,475 residential listings in eastern Massachusetts from 1998-2011. Properties listed with lower commission rates experience less favorable transaction outcomes: they are 5% less likely to sell and take 12% longer to sell. These adverse outcomes reflect decreased willingness of buyers’ agents to intermediate low commission properties (steering), rather than heterogeneous seller preferences or reduced effort of listing agents. Offices with large market shares purchase a disproportionately small fraction of low commission properties. The negative outcomes for low commissions provide empirical support for regulatory concerns over steering.

  • Samuel Bazzi, Arya Gaduh, Alexander Rothenberg, Maisy Wong (2016), Skill Transferability, Migration, and Development: Evidence from Population Resettlement in Indonesia, . Abstract

    We use a natural experiment in Indonesia to provide causal evidence on the role of location-specific human capital and skill transferability in shaping the spatial distribution of productivity. From 1979-1988, the Transmigration Program relocated two million migrants from rural Java and Bali to new rural settlements in the Outer Islands. Villages assigned migrants from regions with more similar agroclimatic endowments exhibit higher rice productivity and nighttime light intensity one to two decades later. We find some evidence of migrants’ adaptation to agroclimatic change. Overall, our results suggest that regional productivity differences may overstate the potential gains from migration.

    Related
  • Maisy Wong (Working), A Tractable Framework to Relate Marginal Willingness-to-Pay in Hedonic and Discrete Choice Models. Abstract
    The two primary approaches to estimate marginal willingness-to-pay (MWTP) are hedonic (Rosen:1974) and discrete choice models (McFadden:1974). This paper provides a tractable framework to investigate the relationship between MWTP in these models. By deriving the hedonic price gradient implicitly from the share function in the discrete choice model, I present an analytical mapping between the hedonic gradient (hence, the hedonic MWTP) and choice probabilities in the discrete choice model. Intuitively, the hedonic MWTP depends on weighted averages of marginal utilities where higher weights are assigned to individuals whose choice probabilities indicate more uncertain choices (marginal individuals). As this choice becomes more certain, the weights start to decrease. Since the hedonic method relies on tangencies between indifference curves and the hedonic price function to identify MWTP, inframarginal individuals (whose bid functions are not tangent to the hedonic price function) have low weights (they have choice probabilities that are close to 0 or 1 and low choice variances). This novel analytical mapping between the hedonic gradient and the share function can be used to identify conditions when MWTP in the two models are similar. 
  • Karna Basu and Maisy Wong (2015), Evaluating Seasonal Food Storage and Credit Programs in East Indonesia, Journal of Development Economics, 115.
  • Maisy Wong (2014), Estimating the Distortionary Effects of Ethnic Quotas in Singapore Using Housing Transactions, Journal of Public Economics, 115 (), pp. 131-145.
  • All Research from Maisy Wong »

Teaching

Past Courses

  • BEPP2990 - Independent Study

  • 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.

  • REAL2050 - Global Real Estate

    This is an introductory course to global real estate markets, with a focus on income-producing real estate assets. Globally, estimates suggest the value of investable real estate assets in the world exceeds $60 trillion. We will discuss the basics of valuation and risk management, emphasizing concepts that are salient in the global context, including political risk, currency risk, property rights and culture. The course will cover markets outside the United States, except for one special topic on international investors in the United States. We will focus more on the qualitative aspects of real estate investment analysis and less on quantitative aspects. As firms expand their ventures across borders, there is a growing emphasis on the ability to assess and manage risk in a global business environment. Many of these decisions have implications on real estate assets. In this class, we will discuss the real estate business decisions of global firms, such as Blackstone, Hilton, AirBNB, WeWork, Prologis, Walmart and Amazon. This is a full semester course, open to undergraduates and MBA's. 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.

  • REAL7050 - Global Real Estate

    This is an introductory course to global real estate markets, with a focus on income-producing real estate assets. Globally, estimates suggest the value of investable real estate assets in the world exceeds $60 trillion. We will discuss the basics of valuation and risk management, emphasizing concepts that are salient in the global context, including political risk, currency risk, property rights, and culture. The course will cover markets outside the United States, except for one special topic on international investors in the United States. We will focus more on the qualitative aspects of real estate investment analysis and less on the quantitative aspects. As firms expand their ventures across borders, there is a growing emphasis on the ability to assess and manage risk in a global business environment. Many of these decisions have implications on real estate assets. In this class, we will discuss the real estate business decisions of global firms, such as Blackstone, Hilton, AirBNB, WeWork, Prologis, Walmart and Amazon. This is a full semester course, open to undergraduates and MBA's. Lecture with discussion required.

  • 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

    Dissertation

Awards And Honors

  • Excellence in Teaching Award for the Undergraduate Division, 2018
  • Wharton Teaching Excellence Reward Recipient, 2018

In the News

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Latest Research

Mariaflavia Harari and Maisy Wong (Draft), Colonial Legacy and Land Market Formality.
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Awards and Honors

Excellence in Teaching Award for the Undergraduate Division 2018
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