The Politics of Spatial Policies

54 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2021 Last revised: 23 Mar 2021

See all articles by David Foster

David Foster

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science

Joseph Warren

University of California, Berkeley, College of Letters & Science, Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, Students

Date Written: February 8, 2021

Abstract

A wide variety of local policies have spatially concentrated costs and diffuse benefits. In many cases, such policies exhibit inefficient underprovision of social goods or inequitable location decisions---with severe consequences for public health, economic output, and racial inequality. We present a formal model to investigate the relationship between these policy failures and institutions for resident participation in local government. In the model, policymakers only establish participatory institutions (which convey information to policymakers but produce inefficiencies) when their preferences are moderately biased toward one neighborhood. When extremely biased, the policymaker unilaterally benefits one neighborhood at the expense of another; when sufficiently egalitarian, the policymaker allows each neighborhood to approve or veto projects themselves. We connect the establishment of participatory institutions to the changing structure of local politics in the wake of the Great Society, reflecting both increased equality across neighborhoods and persistent inequality.

Keywords: local politics, nimbyism, formal model, land use policy, Great Society

JEL Classification: H11, H77, R31, R52

Suggested Citation

Foster, David and Warren, Joseph, The Politics of Spatial Policies (February 8, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3768213 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3768213

David Foster (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Joseph Warren

University of California, Berkeley, College of Letters & Science, Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, Students ( email )

210 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
33
Abstract Views
245
PlumX Metrics