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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 hal-03380333, HAL.
    2. Clémence Tricaud, 2019. "Better alone? Evidence on the costs of intermunicipal cooperation," Economics Working Paper from Condorcet Center for political Economy at CREM-CNRS 2019-12-ccr, Condorcet Center for political Economy.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Clémence Tricaud, 2021. "Better Alone? Evidence on the Costs of Intermunicipal Cooperation," Working Papers hal-03380333, HAL.
    6. 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.
    7. Michael Klien & Elisabeth Arnold, 2022. "Wohnkostenbelastung in Salzburg: Ursachen und Lösungsansätze," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 69436, November.

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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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