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Restrictive Zoning's Deleterious Impact on the Local Education Property Tax Base: Evidence from Zoning District Boundaries and Municipal Finances

Ryan M. Gallagher

Abstract:

This paper employs a boundary-discontinuity research design to estimate land-use regulations' causal impact on residential value per student within Massachusetts municipalities. Zoning restrictions hostile toward small dwellings are found to actually reduce residential value per student. This is because small dwellings, although valued less than larger dwellings, house disproportionally fewer school-aged residents than larger dwellings do. It is then shown that restrictive zoning policies, through their mitigating effect on the local stock of smaller dwellings, force municipalities to rely on higher effective property tax rates to self-fund a particular level of per-student education expenditure, holding all else equal.

Citation

Ryan M. Gallagher (2019), Restrictive Zoning's Deleterious Impact on the Local Education Property Tax Base: Evidence from Zoning District Boundaries and Municipal Finances , National Tax Journal, 72:1, pp. 11-44

DOI: dx.doi.org/10.17310/ntj.2019.1.01