13 Comments
Sep 19, 2022Liked by Stephen Hoskins, Joseph Addington

LVT and NIMBY are both cases where we’ll crafted messaging can find common ground between free market conservatives and social justice liberals. Know your audience, appeal to their interests and concerns, don’t lecture or wag your finger at them.

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"While George’s lifetime predated our Euclidean system of zoning, it is clear that he would have found it an abhorrent barrier to human freedom... zoning is a regulatory tax on production which grants landowners the right to exclude others from their community and ultimately curtails our freedom to live and work on land in the manner that best serves human need."

Really?

George recognised, I thought, that public goods can lift land values (i.e. when they have benefits greater than their costs).

Would he have not recognised that some regulations to internalise externalities can do the same?

Who knows. The guy is dead, and didn't comment on it, and dubious interpretations of what George, or Jesus, would have thought about modern inventions, like zoning or smartphones, seem a bit contrived to me.

If he wouldn't have recognised that regulations preventing harmful externalities while placing minimal burden on the regulated party can promote higher aggregate welfare (i.e. can maximise land rents) then he would have been missing a trick.

Whether zoning fulfills that promise is an empirical question, specific to time and place, which has not been answered in general terms, despite blithe assertions to the contrary.

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founding

Loved this article Stephen! You have by far the best modern analyses of these dynamics.

I wonder about this a lot: how feasible is it for broad upzoning in other places? I see that it was done in NZ and CA has passed some legislation, but it seems there still exist plenty of mechanisms with which new development can be opposed.

Do you think there's a place in the world that might experiment with an LVT extensive enough to achieve some of these outcomes? To your point, the ideal outcome is the marriage of the two.

Again, loved this read and all your other writing!

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Excellent article. If it can be edited, I spotted just one error. The phrase "from moving" is repeated twice here:

"Zoning prevents workers from moving from moving to places where their labor will be more productive and more highly paid."

Thank you for your hard work, Joseph and Stephen! I lived in Lower Hutt for a year, New Zealand is a beautiful country.

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