Strategic Housing Policy, Migration and Sorting Around Population Thresholds

34 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2016

See all articles by K. De Witte

K. De Witte

University of Leuven (KUL); Maastricht University

Benny Geys

BI Norwegian Business School; Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - Applied Economics Department

Date Written: December 07, 2015

Abstract

We analyse whether, when and how local office-holders respond to the personal, economic incentives embedded in exogenously imposed population thresholds leading to an increased number and/or remuneration of local office-holders. Using data from all 589 Belgian municipalities over the period 1977-2014, local politicians are found to purposefully influence population growth through policy measures aimed at stimulating net in-migration when approaching important population thresholds. We provide evidence that strategic housing policy decisions – i.e. granting additional building permits early in the election cycle to maximize population growth just before the 'deadline' to surpass a population threshold – act as a key mechanism.

Keywords: rent-seeking, political agency, regression discontinuity designs, building permits

JEL Classification: H700, J180, R230, R380

Suggested Citation

De Witte, Kristof and Geys, Benny, Strategic Housing Policy, Migration and Sorting Around Population Thresholds (December 07, 2015). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 5639, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2717419 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2717419

Kristof De Witte (Contact Author)

University of Leuven (KUL) ( email )

Naamsestraat 69
Leuven, Vlaams Brabant B-3000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.feb.kuleuven.be

Maastricht University ( email )

Boschstraat 24
Maastricht, Vlaams-Brabant 6211 AX
Netherlands
003216326656 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.feb.kuleuven.be

Benny Geys

BI Norwegian Business School ( email )

Nydalsveien 37
Oslo, 0442
Norway

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - Applied Economics Department ( email )

Pleinlaan 2
1040 Etterbeek
Brussel, CA 1040
Belgium

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