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Abstract:

cover
SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper
The Preservation of Historic Districts - Is it Worth it?
Sevrin Waights
July 2016
Paper No' SERCDP0202:
Full Paper (pdf)

JEL Classification: H89; L51; L74; D62; R21; R31; R38; R52; R58


Tags: housing; planning; regulation; historic preservation; construction; land

I investigate the welfare effect of conservation areas that preserve historic districts by regulating development. Such regulation may improve quality of life but does so by reducing housing productivity – the efficiency with which inputs (land and non-land) are converted into housing services. Using a unique panel dataset for English cities and an instrumental variable approach, I find that cities with more conservation areas have higher house prices for given land values and building costs (lower housing productivity) and higher house prices for given wages (higher quality of life). The overall welfare impact is found to be negative.