The role of demand in land re-development
Several governments throughout the world apply policies aimed to re-mediate and recover vacant or idle land for other uses. This paper provides estimates of the price sensitivity of redevelopment, a crucial parameter for the success of these policies. My cross-sectional estimates measure how prices affect long-run conversion of unused or underused previously developed land in England. In order to solve the classical problem in the estimation of supply elasticities from market outcomes, I exploit school quality information and school admission boundaries to obtain a demand-shifter that is orthogonal to re-development costs. Estimation is conducted using a boundary discontinuity design based on this instrument. Results show that the probability of re-development is effectively sensitive to housing prices. Estimates indicate that a 1% increase in housing prices leads to a 0.07 percentage point reduction in the fraction of hectares containing brownfield land. Back-of-the envelope calculations using these estimates suggest that a large increase of 21% in prices across locations, or an equivalent subsidy, would be required to eliminate most of these vacant or underused land plots.
18 May 2018 Paper Number CEPDP1549
This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Urban programme.