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Comparative urban institutions and intertemporal externality: a revisit of the Coase conjecture

Deng, Feng (2003): Comparative urban institutions and intertemporal externality: a revisit of the Coase conjecture.

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Abstract

Coase originally formulated his conjecture about intertemporal price competition in the context of a land market, but it has been applied almost exclusively to non-spatial markets. This paper revisits the Coase Conjecture in the context of land development and urban institutions. I compare four institutional arrangements based on the combination of land tenure options and local governance forms: private/rental, public/rental, private/owner and public/owner. The two-period model developed in this paper shows that homeownership may result in more land development than leasehold. Numeric examples suggest (1) public/owner, i.e., the common form of government providing collective goods, may be efficient for more uniform distribution of consumer; (2) rentals can be desirable for “poor” communities; (3) private/owner, such as CID (Common Interest Development) and condominium, is more efficient for “rich” communities; (4) restrictive zoning reduces social surplus, and “rich” community may adopt more restrictive measures. These results may help explain why public institutions are dominant in urban setting and why most private communities are small and located in the suburbs.

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