Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

The economics of zoning

Twinam, Tate (2015) The economics of zoning. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (9MB)


This dissertation consists of three chapters. Chapter 1 examines the identification power of assumptions that formalize the notion of complementarity in the context of a nonparametric bounds analysis of treatment response. I extend the literature on partial identification via shape restrictions by exploiting cross--dimensional restrictions on treatment response when treatments are multidimensional; the assumption of supermodularity can strengthen bounds on average treatment effects in studies of policy complementarity. I combine this restriction with a statistical independence assumption to derive improved bounds on treatment effect distributions, aiding in the evaluation of complex randomized controlled trials. I show how complementarities arising from treatment effect heterogeneity among subpopulations can be incorporated through supermodular instrumental variables to strengthen identification of treatment effects in studies with one or multiple treatments. I use these results to examine the long--run effects of zoning on the evolution of land use patterns.

Chapter 2 considers the determinants of land use regulation. Zoning has been cited as a discriminatory policy tool by critics, who argue that ordinances are used to deter the entry of minority residents into majority neighborhoods through density restrictions (exclusionary zoning) and locate manufacturing activity in minority neighborhoods (environmental racism). However, identifying discrimination in these regulations is complicated by the fact that land use and zoning have been co-evolving for nearly a century. We employ a novel approach to overcome this challenge, studying the introduction of comprehensive zoning in Chicago. We find evidence of a pre-cursor to exclusionary zoning as well as inequitable treatment in industrial use zoning.

Chapter 3 examines the impact of residential density and mixed land use on crime using a unique high-resolution dataset from Chicago over the period 2008-2013. I employ a novel instrumental variable strategy based on the city's 1923 zoning code. I find that commercial uses lead to more street crime in their immediate vicinity, with relatively weak spillovers. However, this effect is strongly offset by density; dense mixed use areas are actually safer than typical residential areas. Additionally, much of the commercial effect is driven by liquor stores and late-hour bars. I discuss the implications for zoning policy.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Twinam, Tatetat47@pitt.eduTAT47
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairBeresteanu, Ariearie@pitt.eduARIE
Committee CoChairWalsh, Randallwalshr@pitt.eduWALSHR
Committee MemberShertzer, Allisonshertzer@pitt.eduSHERTZER
Committee MemberEpple,
Date: 23 June 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 April 2015
Approval Date: 23 June 2015
Submission Date: 31 March 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 129
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Economics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: zoning, crime, identification, economics
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2015 14:52
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:26


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item