Publications

  • Housing Policy in New York City: A Brief History

    Published in April 2006, this paper tells the story of housing policy in New York City over the past 30 years. The report describes the city’s unprecedented efforts to rebuild its housing stock during the late 1980s and 1990s and analyzes the specific features of the New York City’s 10-year plan that made these efforts so successful. In addition, the report describes New York City’s current housing environment and policy challenges.

  • Nonprofit Housing and Neighborhood Spillovers

    Nonprofit organizations play a critical role in U.S. housing policy, a role typically justified by the claim that their housing investments produce significant neighborhood spillover benefits. However, little work has actually been done to measure these impacts on neighborhoods. This paper compares the neighborhood spillover effects of city-supported rehabilitation of rental housing undertaken by nonprofit and for-profit developers, using data from New York City. To measure these benefits, we use increases in neighboring property values, estimated from a difference-in-difference specification of a hedonic regression model. We study the impacts of about 43,000 units of city-supported housing completed during the 1980s and 1990s, and our sample of property transactions includes nearly 300,000 individual sales.

  • Land Use Controls: Cases and Materials (Third Edition)

    A thematic framework that reveals the connections among the multiple discrete topics under land law, with attention to the factual and political context of the cases and the aftermath of decisions

  • Removing Regulatory Barriers: One City’s Experience

    The difficulty of developing housing in New York City is as legendary as its cost. The city has had a vacancy rate under 5% — the legislative threshold defining a housing “emergency”—for more than 55 years. More than one commission or blue ribbon panel has identified government regulation as one of the primary causes of the housing problem. Since 2000, however, an opportunity presented itself to finally make some progress in reducing the cost of housing construction. Removing regulatory barriers to housing development caught the interest of two mayors—Rudolph Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg—and their respective housing commissioners.

  • The Utilization of Rental Housing Assistance By Immigrants in the United States and New York City

    The large influx of immigrants to the United States and New York City from poorer countries has sparked considerable debate as to whether immigrants are becoming a “public charge” to American society. Most arguments have centered around immigrants’ use of cash assistance programs. This article compares immigrants’ receipt of rental housing assistance with that of native-born Americans.

    Bivariate analyses reveal that immigrants, as a group, are no more likely than native-born households to use any form of rental housing assistance. Indeed, in most instances immigrants are less likely than native-born households to receive assistance, with two exceptions: immigrants who have been in the United States since 1970 and immigrants from the former Soviet Union in New York City. Multivariate analyses reveal similar results, except that immigrants who have been in the United States since 1970 are no more likely than other immigrants to receive housing assistance when we control for other factors.

  • Reducing the Cost of New Housing Construction in New York City: 2005 Update

    As was the case in 1999, the major housing problem facing residents of New York City in 2005 is the affordability of housing. More than one out of every five renters in the city pay over half their incomes in rent. It is especially problematic that the vast majority of households who experience these severe housing affordability problems earn low incomes. Nevertheless, high housing costs are a significant problem for households throughout the income spectrum. While limited data suggest that housing affordability problems may have moderated a tiny bit for renters from 1999 to 2004, they worsened for owners.

  • School Finance Court Cases and Disparate Racial Impact

    Although analyses of state school finance systems rarely focus on the distribution of funds to students of different races, the advent of racial discrimination as an issue in school finance court cases may change that situation. In this article, we describe the background, analyses, and results of plaintiffs’ testimony regarding racial discrimination in Campaign for Fiscal Equity Inc. v. State of New York. Plaintiffs employed multiple regression and public finance literature to show that New York State’s school finance system had a disparate racial impact on New York City students. We review the legal basis for disparate racial impact claims, with particular emphasis on the role of quantitative statistical work, and then describe the model we developed and estimated for the court case. Finally, we discuss the defendants’rebuttal, the Court’s decision, and conclude with observations about the role of analysis in judicial decision making in school finance.

  • Impact Fees and Housing Affordability

    The increasing use of impact fees and the costs that they may add to the development process raises serious concerns about the effect using impact fees to fund infrastructure will have on the affordability of housing.

  • Comment on ‘The Effects of Affordable and Multifamily Housing on Market Values of Nearby Homes’

    Advocates of growth management and smart growth often propose policies that raise housing prices, thereby making housing less affordable to many households trying to buy or rent homes. Such policies include urban growth boundaries, zoning restrictions on multi-family housing, utility district lines, building permit caps, and even construction moratoria. Does this mean there is an inherent conflict between growth management and smart growth on the one hand, and creating more affordable housing on the other? Or can growth management and smart growth promote policies that help increase the supply of affordable housing?

  • What’s Happened to the Price of College? Quality Adjusted Net Price Indices for 4 Year College

    In this paper we estimate hedonic models of the (consumer) price of college to construct quality-adjusted net price indexes for U.S. four-year colleges, where the net price of college is defined as tuition and fees minus financial aid. For academic years 1990–91 to 1994–95, we find adjusting for financial aid leads to a 22 percent decline in the estimated price index for all four year colleges, while quality adjusting the results leads to a further, albeit smaller, decline. Nevertheless, public comprehensive colleges, perhaps an important gateway to college for students from low-income backgrounds, experienced the largest net price increases.