Monday, August 13, 2012

While I don't like the finding, I feel compelled to report that Matt Kahn finds liberals are more likely to be housing NIMBYs

I just caught up with his JUE paper on the subject.  The abstract:

Traditional explanations for why some communities block new housing construction focus on incumbent home owner incentives to block entry. Local resident political ideology may also influence community permitting decisions. This paper uses city level panel data across California metropolitan areas from 2000 to 2008 to document that liberal cities grant fewer new housing permits than observationally similar cities located within the same metropolitan area. Cities experiencing a growth in their liberal voter share have a lower new housing permit growth rate.
The paper is quite thorough, using a wide variety of specifications, and the results are quite robust. 

My research (and that of many others) shows that impediments to homebuilding are the largest cause of expensive houses.  By impeding home construction, liberals are contributing to the rent being too damn high.  Needless to say, this hurts low income households more than anyone else.


rjs said...

Phil Ochs knew that about liberals in the 60s:
"10 degrees to the left of center in good times, 10 degrees to the right of center when it affects them personally.."

David Benoff said...

Too many confounding variables (though I didn't read the paper).

A 'liberal' city like Manhattan Beach is going to be more NIMBY than, 'conservative' San Bernardino if for no other reason that land is scarce in one and plentiful in the other.

Also natural amenities and transportation access. Malibu fights development because they want the beach to themselves and don't want traffic on PCH.

Victorville has no natural amenities and no traffic. What do they care about new development?

David Benoff said...

The point I was trying to make (but didn't state) is coastal california is liberal and inland california is conservative.

NIMBYism is simply a manifestation of that.

You need to control for density and traffic (and possibly RE prices).

Maybe he did that but the abstract gives the impression that he did not.

Kaleberg said...

Conservatives are also more likely to believe real estate developers who argue that the increased public costs of the new housing - roads, congestion, schools, sewage treatment, et al - will be more than paid for by the new taxes the newcomers will pay. Liberals are less likely to believe this and often would rather not shoulder the burden when all the profits will go to some guy who will get his money up front and be gone when the problems start.

Kurt Paulsen said...

Richard - since you spent some time here in Madison, WI you will appreciate the irony. In the past 2 years that I have followed closely, 2 Wisconsin cities have resisted LIHTC developments and were later sued. One is New Berlin, Waukesha County. Very suburban, very Republican. The other is Shorewood Hills - a socialist commune within the city of Madison (but incorporated as a village.) Kucinich and Nader for president bumper stickers on Hybrids abound. But resisted an apartment complex on exactly the same grounds as New Berlin. Completely different ideologies, but same exclusionary zoning.

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