Keeping People Out: Income Distribution, Zoning and the Quality of Public Education
NBER Working Paper No. 4333
This paper examines the effect of community zoning regulations on allocations and welfare in a two-community model. Each community uses a local property tax to finance public education. Tax rates are determined by majority vote within each community, and individuals choose in which community to reside. We study exogenously imposed zoning regulations as well as the case where the regulator is endogenously determined by majority vote. Our analysis indicates that a number of outcomes are theoretically possible. Several interesting results emerge from simulations of the model. Although zoning tends to make the rich community more exclusive, this need not increase the quality of education in the rich community relative to the poor community. Welfare effects are not monotone in income; some lower income individuals benefit and some higher income individuals are made worse off when zoning is introduced.
Published: International Economic Review, 38, 1997, pp.23-42