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Can state law combat exclusionary zoning? Evidence from Massachusetts


This paper empirically analyses a Massachusetts law (Chapter 40B) allowing developers of income-restricted housing to appeal local land-use decisions to a state administrative body. Based on a unique dataset, we assess whether Chapter 40B was more likely to be used by developers in municipalities that place stronger restrictions on development. We find that the use of Chapter 40B to overcome regulatory barriers depends on the type of project. For rental development, developers were more likely to use the law in municipalities that were relatively accessible to jobs and that placed relatively stringent zoning restrictions on multifamily development. The use of Chapter 40B for condominium development was more likely in larger, less well-located municipalities with relatively stringent wetlands regulations.

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