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The Spatial Distribution of Housing-Related Tax Benefits in the United States

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  • Joseph Gyourko
  • Todd Sinai

Abstract

Using 1990 Census tract-level data, we estimate how tax subsidies to owner-occupied housing are distributed spatially across the United States, calculating their value as the difference in taxes currently paid by home owners and the taxes owners would pay if there were no preference for investing in one’s home relative to other assets. The $164 billion national tax subsidy is highly skewed spatially with a few areas receiving large subsidies and most areas receiving small ones. If the program were self-financed on a lump sum basis, less than 20 percent of states and 10 percent of metropolitan areas would have net positive subsidies. These few metropolitan areas are situated almost exclusively along the California coast and in the Northeast from Washington, DC to Boston. At the state level, California stands out because it receives 25 percent of the national aggregate subsidy flow while being home to only 10 percent of the country’s owners. At the metropolitan area level, owners in just three large CMSAs receive over 75 percent of all positive net benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Joseph Gyourko & Todd Sinai, "undated". "The Spatial Distribution of Housing-Related Tax Benefits in the United States," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 399, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:pennzl:399
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James M. Poterba, 1983. "Tax Subsidies to Owner-occupied Housing: An Asset Market Approach," Working papers 339, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    2. King, Mervyn A., 1980. "An econometric model of tenure choice and demand for housing as a joint decision," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 137-159, October.
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    4. Mervyn A. King, 1980. "An econometric model of tenure choice and demand for housing as a joint decision," NBER Chapters,in: Econometric Studies in Public Finance, pages 137-159 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Persky, Joseph & Kurban, Haydar, 2003. "Do federal spending and tax policies build cities or promote sprawl?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(3), pages 361-378, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • R38 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Government Policy

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