From the study:
Urban economics and branches of mainstream economics – what we call the ‘housing as opportunity’ school of thought – have been arguing that shortages of affordable housing in dense agglomerations represent a fundamental barrier to economic development. Housing shortages are considered to limit migration into thriving cities, curtailing their expansion potential, generating rising social and spatial inequalities and inhibiting national growth.
According to this dominant view, relaxing zoning and other planning regulations in the most prosperous cities is crucial to unleash the economic potential of cities and nations and to facilitate within-country migration. In this article, we contend that the bulk of the claims of the housing as opportunity approach are fundamentally flawed and lead to simplistic and misguided policy recommendations. We posit that there is no clear and uncontroversial evidence that housing regulation is a principal source of differences in home availability or prices across cities.
Blanket changes in zoning are unlikely to increase domestic migration or to improve affordability for lower-income households in prosperous areas. They would, however, increase gentrification within metropolitan areas and would not appreciably decrease income inequality. In contrast to the housing models, we argue that the basic motors of all these features of the economy are the current geography of employment, wages and skills.
Read the Full Study and Amicus Brief Below: