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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Public Economics, Volume 91, Issues 1–2, February 2007, Pages 25–49
Households choose a community in a metropolitan area and collectively set a minimum housing quality and a property tax to finance a local public good. The collective imposition of a lower bound on housing consumption induces an income-stratified equilibrium in a specification where meaningful community differentiation would not arise without zoning. We show computationally that zoning restrictions are likely to be stringent, with a majority facing a binding constraint in communities that permit it. By inducing a stratified equilibrium, zoning causes Tiebout-welfare gains in aggregate but with large welfare transfers. Relative to stratified equilibrium without zoning, the zoning equilibrium is significantly more efficient as it reduces housing-market distortions.
Few policies of local governments are more ubiquitous or more controversial than zoning. Critics argue that much zoning is fiscally motivated, a tool enabling residents of wealthy communities to restrict entry of poorer households who would contribute less to tax revenues than the cost of the public services they consume. The terms “fiscal zoning” and “exclusionary zoning” have been coined to describe such exercise of community zoning powers.2 Bitter, repeated court battles attest to the intense hostility to zoning and the equally intense resistance by communities to restrictions on their use of zoning.3 While economic analysis has illuminated the incentive issues associated with use of zoning,4 the quest for a model characterizing zoning in a multi-community setting with heterogeneous households has proven elusive. Such an effort encounters two key difficulties. One is that there appears to be a chicken-and-egg problem: a community's residents set zoning, but one cannot determine who those residents are without knowing the community's zoning policy. The other difficulty is that efforts to model zoning and property taxation as the outcome of a collective choice process confront the well-known (Plott, 1967) problems of existence of voting equilibrium in multi-dimensional settings.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We have seen that zoning must characterize equilibrium and that it may induce stratification. Perhaps the most striking positive finding of our analysis is the stringency of zoning restrictions that emerge in such an equilibrium. As we noted in the Introduction, our framing of zoning policy choice requires voters to abide by the zoning constraint that is adopted; voters cannot impose a policy on future arrivals while exempting themselves. Despite this, pivotal voters in all communities choose zoning levels that constrain their own housing consumption and that of a large majority of residents of their communities. Thus, our results provide evidence of the powerful incentives for use of fiscal zoning. From the perspective of empirical implications, this finding is also the most distinctive prediction of our model. There should be substantial bunching of housing consumption on the lower end within suburban communities and stratification of housing consumption across communities. The normative result that bears emphasis is the relative efficiency of zoning as a mechanism to realize Tiebout-matching gains. If housing price alone supports socioeconomic sorting among jurisdictions, we find Tiebout-matching gains are offset by large housing-market distortions. Zoning permits aggregate gains and is remarkably similar to head taxation as Hamilton (1975) claimed. We should note in this connection that our framing of the problem, requiring voters to abide by the constraint that is adopted, may yield more favorable efficiency effects than would emerge if voters could choose zoning to bind future residents without binding themselves.35 Extending our analysis to investigate this possibility is an important issue for future research.