fbpx Compensating Costs: How Self-Interest and Symbolic Politics Shape the Effectiveness of Compensation - Justin de Benedictis-Kessner | Harvard Kennedy School

HKS Affiliated Authors


April 25, 2022, Paper: "Policy with concentrated costs often faces intense localized opposition. Both private and governmental actors frequently use financial compensation to attempt to overcome this opposition. Using the policy of new housing production, we measure the effectiveness of financial compensation in winning policy support. We build a novel survey that shows respondents images of their self-reported neighborhood with hypothetical renderings of new housing development superimposed on existing structures. Using a sample of nearly 600 Bostonians, we find that compensating nearby residents increases their support for nearby market-rate housing construction. However, compensation does not influence support for affordable housing, suggesting limits to the role of self-interest in evaluating concentrated costs."

HKS Faculty Author - Justin de Benedictis-Kessner