Grad Student Explores the Role of Land Use Regulations in the Housing Boom and Bust

Kip Jackson, graduate student in economics, has been awarded a $5,000 grant from the Charles Koch Foundation to fund research for his dissertation, which examines the effects of land use regulation on California’s housing market.

In order to identify the stringency of local regulatory regimes in California cities and counties, Jackson first designed an online survey to collect information regarding the land use policies and procedures employed by localities across the state. 

Utilizing this data, he explores variation in the adoption of land use regulation in California, and subsequently the role of regulation in the state’s recent housing market boom and bust. He finds that while regulation is associated with a higher level of housing prices, it did not play a meaningful role in the huge price swings experienced in many California communities. Instead, he determined that the prevalence of subprime mortgages had a significant impact on local housing price cycles, and that these effects were exacerbated by the geographic constraints on development in certain communities.

Jackson’s online survey elicited responses from top land use officials in 420 California jurisdictions—representing 92 percent of the state population. Though this data has not yet been published, it will prove tremendously valuable to developers, researchers and policy makers throughout the state.

His grant began in July 2014 and will run through June 2015.

Learn more about Jackson’s research in his video interview about the Department of Economics’ graduate program.