Key stylized facts arising from the data include that there is a strong positive correlation across the subcomponents that make up our regulation index. Practically speaking, this means that highly (lightly) regulated places tend to be highly (lightly) regulated on virtually all the dimensions by which we measure regulatory stringency. Thus, there is no evidence that communities target specific items or issues to regulate. The stringency of regulation also is strongly positively correlated with measures of community wealth, so that it is the richer and more highly-educated places that have the most highly regulated land use environments. However, the stringency of regulation is weakly negatively correlated with population density. The fact that the densest communities are not the most highly regulated strongly suggests that the motivation for land use controls is not a fundamental scarcity in the sense that these places are ‘running out of land’.
University of Pennsylvania
October 22, 2006