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HKS Authors

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Abstract

Housing policy is one of the most important areas of local politics. Yet little is known about how local legislatures and executives make housing policy decisions and how their elections shape policy in this important realm. We leverage housing policy data and a new data source of 13,602 city council elections and 2,716 mayoral elections in large cities in the United States and a regression discontinuity design to examine partisan divides in housing policy among the mass public as well as the impact of local leaders’ partisanship on housing policy. We provide robust evidence that electing mayors from different political parties shapes cities’ housing stock. Electing a Democrat as mayor leads to increased multi-family housing production. These effects are concentrated in cities where councils have less power over land use changes. Overall, our paper shows that politics influences local housing policy, and it contributes to a larger literature on local political economy.

Citation

de Benedictis Kessner, Justin, Daniel Jones, and Christopher Warshaw. "How Partisanship in Cities Influences Housing Policy." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP21-035, August 2022.