Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Do Liberal Cities Block New Housing Development?

In my new Journal of Urban Economics paper , I use data for California's cities and argue that the answer is "yes".   Within the San Francisco metro area, have you noticed the boom in development in Emeryville?  An unintended consequence of next door Berkeley's and Oakland's restrictive land use policies is to nudge growth to more builder friendly Emeryville.

For those who follow my work, I hope you see the common theme of the role of political ideology in affecting economic outcomes.

This theme appears;

paper #1   ,  paper #2   and paper #3

Is blocking new development good or bad for the environment?  The answer hinges on the "deflection effect". If an urban city such as Oakland blocks growth, where does the growth go? If it leapfrogs to the exurban fringe then overall sustainability can fall due to the carbon footprint growth at the fringe.  If the growth deflects to a Las Vegas if a City of San Francisco blocks growth then the extent of the sustainability impact depends on what is the relative footprint of Las Vegas relative to San Francisco. For the answer to that question, read this.