Publication Date

7-10-2020

Series

Upjohn Institute working paper ; 20-330

DOI

10.17848/wp20-330

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.

Issue Date

July 2020

Sponsorship

The Center for Growth and Opportunity

Subject Areas

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT; Regional policy and planning; Urban issues

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Citation

Mast, Evan. 2020. "Warding Off Development: Local Control, Housing Supply, and NIMBYs." Upjohn Institute Working Paper 20-330. Kalamazoo, MI: W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. https://doi.org/10.17848/wp20-330