Interjurisdictional Price Effects of Land Use Controls

Interjurisdictional Price Effects of Land Use Controls

Local land use regulations have been justified on the ground that local governments are authorized to exercise police power to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of their residents from negative externalities arising from noncompatible land uses. A number of scholars have suggested, however, that government regulations can be viewed as the result of competition among interest groups for favorable government action as well as a mechanism for correcting the allocative nefficiencies of market failure.
Winners in local land use regulation are existing resident homeowners, while losers are such groups as prospective residents, current renters, and land developers in the local community. In suburban communities which have adopted restrictive land use controls, existing resident homeowners are invariably the politically dominant group. The existing residents can benefit from excluding prospective low-income residents because their contribution to local taxes is likely to be less than their share of local services consumed.

Susan M. Wachter and Man Cho

Washington University Journal of Urban and Contemporary Law

January 1991

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