The bling-bling lobby

Another post on campaign finance reform? Or has Eminem finally bribed Joe Lieberman, John McCain, Lynn Cheney, and other Capitol Hill busybodies to STFU about rap music poisoning our children's innocent little ears?

No. Wrong kind of bling-bling lobby. Andrew Chamberlain, who is on a roll from his previous post on the economics of window dressings, asks why apartments in DC (and we can add NYC in as well) tend to bundle more building amenities into the monthly rent compared to other cities like Seattle, specifically things like doormen and large lobby areas.

One possible answer might be that people living in DC and Manhattan believe that crime rates are especially high in their area. Even if this perception is factually inaccurate, it may result in a preference for seemingly safer apartments, even if the presence of a doorman doesn't actually reduce the risk of crime.

Is this hypothesis correct? In my experience, apartments with doormen tend to be in highly concentrated metropolitan areas, which also tend to have higher crime rates compared to rural areas. But this could simply be correlation without causation, and other factors may be involved. Still, this explanation seems intuitively plausible.

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IMHO, I think it is because

IMHO, I think it is because the buildings on the East Coast just tend to be older than the West Coast. Granted even the new high-rises like the one I live in still have large lobbies and several amenities, I think it is largely due to legacy competition from the buildings built 40-50 years ago.

One could also say that East Coast folks are more snobby and therefore need a doorman!

I live in a building with a

I live in a building with a bling bling lobby. In Boston, there are basically two kinds of apartments: brownstones (think Hugstable family) and 'full service' apartments (bling bling). The rent is generally higher in bling bling buildings, but they also provide more services - they'll keep non-residents out unless they are guests, take UPS packages for you if you're not home, call for a cab for you, etc.

Offhand, I don't think security plays a part in whether or not a building is bling bling. Most of Boston is safe, and usually, the newer high rises have bling bling but the older brownstones do not.