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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A General Equilibrium Analysis of Land Use Restrictions and Residential Welfare


We consider the general equilibrium implications of land use restrictions which result in a reduction of otherwise profitable residential development. If the regulations affect a significant amount of land, they may have important effects on the rest of the regional economy -increasing rents and densities on lands not subject to the regulation, causing the conversion of lands from alternative uses, increasing the net developed area in the region, and decreasing consumer welfare. We develop a flexible general equilibrium simulation of the economic effects of land use restrictions, explicitly considering the distributional effects upon owners of different types of land and upon housing consumers. The results of our simulation show that the most significant economic effects of land use regulations occur outside of the designated area. The prices and rents of non-restricted lands increase significantly, and the well being of housing consumers is further affected through these linkages.

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