Net Buyers, Net Sellers, and Agricultural Landowner Support for Agricultural Zoning
Agricultural zoning and land use restrictions are long-standing approaches for controlling non-agricultural development. Agricultural landowners may contest agricultural zoning if they expect zoning to reduce land prices on restricted land. However, it is common to find agricultural landowners on both sides of this issue. A prevailing economic explanation for variation in landowner support is that the price effect of zoning varies across land parcels and therefore, zoning may increases the value of some lands zoned for agricultural use. In this paper, we provide an additional explanation for variation in agricultural landowner support. We use the concepts of net buyers and net sellers of land to suggest that the utility effect of changing land prices depends on an agricultural landowner's position in the agricultural land market. Hence, even in situations where all agricultural landowners expect zoning to reduce agricultural land prices, some subset of agricultural landowners - i.e., net buyers - may benefit. Survey data from agricultural landowners is used to model the probability that an agricultural landowner will support agricultural zoning. The empirical findings are consistent with our hypothesis that net buyers and net sellers of agricultural land will differ in their support for agricultural zoning.
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