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Warding Off Development: Local Control, Housing Supply, and NIMBYs

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  • Evan Mast

    (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research)

Abstract

Local control of land-use regulation creates a not-in-my-backyard (NIMBY) problem that can suppress housing construction, contributing to rising prices and potentially slowing economic growth. I study how increased local control affects housing production by exploiting a common electoral reform—changing from “at-large” to “ward” elections for town council. These reforms, which are not typically motivated by housing markets, shrink each representative’s constituency from the entire town to one ward. Difference-in-differences estimates show that this decentralization decreases housing units permitted by 24 percent, with 47 percent and 12 percent effects on multi- and single-family units. The effect on multifamily is larger in high-homeownership towns.

Suggested Citation

  • Evan Mast, 2020. "Warding Off Development: Local Control, Housing Supply, and NIMBYs," Upjohn Working Papers 20-330, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:20-330
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Clémence Tricaud, 2021. "Better Alone? Evidence on the Costs of Intermunicipal Cooperation," Post-Print halshs-03243307, HAL.
    2. Kulka. Amrita & Sood, Aradhya & Chiumenti, Nicholas, 2022. "How to Increase Housing A ordability? Understanding Local Deterrents to Building Multifamily Housing," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 635, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    3. Clémence Tricaud, 2021. "Better Alone? Evidence on the Costs of Intermunicipal Cooperation," Post-Print halshs-03243307, HAL.
    4. Oskari Harjunen & Tuukka Saarimaa & Janne Tukiainen, 2021. "Love Thy (Elected) Neighbor? Residential Segregation, Political Representation and Local Public Goods," Discussion Papers 138, Aboa Centre for Economics.
    5. Nicholas Chiumenti & Amrita Kulka & Aradhya Sood, 2022. "How to Increase Housing Affordability: Understanding Local Deterrents to Building Multifamily Housing," Working Papers 22-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    6. Clémence Tricaud, 2021. "Better Alone? Evidence on the Costs of Intermunicipal Cooperation," Working Papers hal-03380333, HAL.
    7. Daniel A. Broxterman & Trenton Chen Jin, 2022. "House Prices, Government Quality, and Voting Behavior," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 64(2), pages 179-209, February.
    8. Brian J. Asquith & Margaret C. Bock, 2022. "The Case for Dynamic Cities," Upjohn Working Papers 22-373, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    9. Michael Klien & Elisabeth Arnold, 2022. "Wohnkostenbelastung in Salzburg: Ursachen und Lösungsansätze," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 69436, February.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Housing supply; land-use regulation; NIMBYism;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets
    • R38 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Government Policy
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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