NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Tate Twinam

University of Washington Bothell
18115 Campus Way NE
Bothell, WA 98011

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2016Zoning and the Economic Geography of Cities
with Allison Shertzer, Randall P. Walsh: w22658
Comprehensive zoning is ubiquitous in U.S. cities, yet we know surprisingly little about its long-run impacts. We provide the first attempt to measure the causal effect of land use regulation over the long term, using as our setting Chicago’s first (1923) comprehensive zoning ordinance. Our results indicate that zoning has had a broader and more significant impact on the spatial distribution of economic activity than was previously believed. In particular, zoning may be more important than either geography or transportation networks – the workhorses of urban economic geography models – in explaining where commercial and industrial activity are located.
May 2014Race, Ethnicity, and Discriminatory Zoning
with Allison Shertzer, Randall P. Walsh: w20108
Zoning has been cited as a discriminatory policy tool by critics, who argue that ordinances are used to deter the entry of minority residents into majority neighborhoods through density restrictions (exclusionary zoning) and locate manufacturing activity in minority neighborhoods (environmental racism). However, identifying discrimination in these regulations is complicated by the fact that land use and zoning have been co-evolving for nearly a century in most American cities, rendering residential sorting and inequitable treatment observationally equivalent. We employ a novel approach to overcome this challenge, studying the introduction of comprehensive zoning in Chicago. Using fine-scale spatial data on pre-existing land uses and the locations of minority neighborhoods, we find eviden...

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