How Zoning Screws up Everything

Yale law professor David Schleicher on law and land use

  
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This is my question: can we YIMBY harder? Many people are awakening to the enormous costs of restrictive municipal land use and zoning. But what can we do about it? Most assume that restrictive zoning and skyrocketing housing costs are local issues that require local solutions. But as my guest, David Schleicher, makes clear, that's not really true. A few superstar cities choking off housing supply has huge national implications. It creates massive distortions in labor markets and patterns of interstate labor mobility. This has left us a lot poorer than we'd be if our most productive cities were more relaxed about zoning. But as David points out in his terrific paper, “Stuck: The Law and Economics of Residential Stability,” these distortions also screw up the effectiveness of federal macroeconomic policy, which does additional damage to growth. I'm writing a paper about this stuff and I've actually become more rather than less confused about why the federal government can't directly intervene to remedy a problem that has immense national implications. That's why I wanted to talk to David, my favorite YIMBY law professor. If anybody would know, it'd be him. Along the way we talk about the weirdness of American single-family residential zoning, the “homevoter hypothesis,” and whether the pandemic means that telecommuting is here forever. David Schleicher is Professor of Law at Yale Law School, a New Yorker, and a hell of a nice guy.

Readings

Stuck: The Law and Economics of Residential Stability” by David Schleicher

Planning an Affordable City,” by Roderick Hills and David Schleicher

City Unplanning,” by David Schleicher

The Homevoter Hypothesis by William Fischel

Zoning and Property Rights by Robert Nelson

Suburban Growth Controls: An Economic and Legal Analysis,” by Robert Ellickson

Segregation by Design by Jessica Trounstine

Zoned in the USA by Sonia Hirt

America’s racist housing rules really can be fixed” by Jerusalem Demsas

Federal Grant Rules and Realities in the Intergovernmental Administrative State: Compliance, Performance, and Politics” by Eloise Passachoff

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