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Zoning and the Political Economy of Local Redistribution

  • Raquel Fernandez
  • Richard Rogerson

This paper examines the effects of a zoning regulation on local redistribution in a multicommunity model. Each community chooses, by majority vote within the community, a property tax rate. The proceeds from this tax are then redistributed within the community on a per capita basis. Individuals that differ in their initial income choose a community in which to reside and how much housing to purchase. We examine the effects on allocations and welfare of a zoning regulation that allows one of the communities to set a minimum housing purchase for each of its residents. Two cases are analyzed: In the first, the zoning regulation is taken as exogenous. In the second, the level of zoning is endogenously determined via majority vote. Some of our findings are: (i) Contrary to results obtained in a model with no zoning, wealthy communities may engage in greater redistribution than do poorer communities. (ii) Zoning may cause the wealthy community to become less, rather than more, exclusive. (iii) Welfare effects are not monotone in income. (iv) It is possible for the wealthiest individuals to be made worse off by the imposition of zoning.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4456.

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Date of creation: Sep 1993
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Publication status: published as Cuadernos Economicos, 61, 1996
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4456
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  1. de Bartolome, Charles A M, 1990. "Equilibrium and Inefficiency in a Community Model with Peer Group Effects," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 110-33, February.
  2. Fernandez, R. & Rogerson, R., 1993. "Keeping People Out: Income Distribution, Zoning and the Quality of Public Education," Papers 19, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  3. Fernandez, R. & Rogerson, R., 1992. "Income Distribution, Communities and the Quality of Public Education: A Policy Analysis," Papers 1, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  4. Wildasin, David E, 1991. "Income Redistribution in a Common Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 757-74, September.
  5. Steven N. Durlauf, 1992. "A Theory of Persistent Income Inequality," NBER Working Papers 4056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David E. Wildasin, 1993. "State income taxation with mobile labor," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 51-75.
  7. Rodrik, Dani & Alesina, Alberto, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4551798, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Cassidy, Glenn & Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1989. "Redistribution by local governments in a monocentric urban area," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 421-454, August.
  9. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  10. Rose-Ackerman, Susan, 1979. "Market models of local government: Exit, voting, and the land market," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 319-337, July.
  11. Wilson, John D., 1986. "A theory of interregional tax competition," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 296-315, May.
  12. Westhoff, Frank, 1977. "Existence of equilibria in economies with a local public good," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 84-112, February.
  13. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1991. "Mobility and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 828-58, August.
  14. J. Michael Pogodzinski & Tim R. Sass, 1990. "The Economic Theory of Zoning: A Critical Review," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 66(3), pages 294-314.
  15. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas & Filimon, Radu, 1988. "Community development with endogenous land use controls," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 133-162, March.
  16. Wallace E. Oates, 1968. "The Theory of Public Finance in a Federal System," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 1(1), pages 37-54, February.
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