In 2002, Natalya Delcoure and Norman Miller, two real estate economists, set about to learn what fees consumers pay real estate agents in America. They were especially interested in real estate commissions. 

What Decloure and Miller discovered was somewhat shocking. On average 6% of the proceeds from each home sale went to the participating real estate agents. The figure was not just more than what agents make in other countries but wildly more; 200% to 400% more. 

The economists figured this startling disparity couldn’t last in the digital age, but it has. 

While commissions have fallen even farther in other countries, U.S. real estate agents today make more than they did 20 years ago.

U.S. real estate agents rake it in as their sales broker brethren – stockbrokers, travel agents – long ago scurried to other lines of work.   

“These patterns are puzzling given the industry’s significant…

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