The (Un)Changing Geographical Distribution of Housing Tax Benefits: 1980 to 2000

45 Pages Posted: 13 May 2004 Last revised: 16 Sep 2021

See all articles by Todd M. Sinai

Todd M. Sinai

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Joseph Gyourko

University of Pennsylvania - Real Estate Department; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 2004

Abstract

Even though the top marginal income tax rate has fallen substantially and the tax code has become less progressive since 1979, the tax benefit to homeowners was virtually unchanged between 1979-1989, and then rose substantially between 1989-1999. Using tract-level data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 censuses, we estimate how the income tax-related benefits to owner-occupiers are distributed spatially across the United States. Geographically, gross program benefits have been and remain very spatially targeted. At the metropolitan area level, tax benefits are spatially targeted, with a spatial skewness that is increasing over time. In 1979, owners in the top 20 highest subsidy areas received from 2.7 to 8.0 times the subsidy reaped by owners in the bottom 20 areas. By 1999, owners in the top 20 areas received from 3.4 to 17.1 times more benefits than owners in any of the 20 lowest recipient areas. Despite the increasing skewness, the top subsidy recipient areas tend to persist over time. In particular, the very high benefit per owner areas are heavily concentrated in California and the New York City to Boston corridor, with California owners alone receiving between 19 and 22 percent of the national aggregate gross benefits. While tax rates are somewhat higher in these places, it is high and rising house prices which appear most responsible for the large and increasing skewness in the spatial distribution of benefits.

Suggested Citation

Sinai, Todd M. and Gyourko, Joseph E., The (Un)Changing Geographical Distribution of Housing Tax Benefits: 1980 to 2000 (February 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10322, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=509853

Todd M. Sinai (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

1465 Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall
3620 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6302
United States
215-898-5390 (Phone)
215-573-2220 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://real.wharton.upenn.edu/~sinai

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Joseph E. Gyourko

University of Pennsylvania - Real Estate Department ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6330
United States
215-898-3003 (Phone)
215-573-2220 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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

Paper statistics

Downloads
48
Abstract Views
976
PlumX Metrics