“Why Is Housing So Hard to Build?: The Collective Action Problem of Spatial Proximity” with Michael Hankinson, Harvard

Event time: 
Wednesday, October 26, 2016 - 12:00pm through 1:15pm
Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), Room A002
77 Prospect St.
New Haven, CT 06511
Michael Hankinson, Harvard University
Event description: 


Abstract: Since 1970, regulations constraining the development of new housing have caused prices in high income cities to dramatically increase, both burdening current renters and limiting the opportunities of those priced out. I argue that these regulations stem from the effects of decision making scale on homeowner and renter support for new housing. While renters and liberal homeowners support new housing at the global (city) scale, both groups exhibit spatial sensitivity, or `NIMBYism’, when housing is proposed at the local (neighborhood) scale. These behavioral changes suggest a political failure, where the city institutions produce less housing than citizens support in aggregate. In short, neighborhood decisions foster collective action problems that citywide decisions could overcome. To test this theory, I combine survey experiments with behavioral data from two original data sources, a 3,019 respondent national survey and a 1,660 voter exit poll, with 152 respondents completing both. These findings not only advance our understanding of how scale alters political behavior, but provide the first experimental measurements of NIMBYism.

Speaker: Michael Hankinson is a Ph.D. Candidate in Government and Social Policy at Harvard University, a joint program between the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and the Kennedy School of Government. His dissertation focuses on how political behavior can both create, but also help address social problems through public policy. Michael’s research focuses on political geography and local politics, with a focus on land use and urban development. Prior to Harvard, Michael graduated from the University of Virginia as an Echols Scholar, with a B.A. in Government and Environment Thought & Practice.

Open to: 
General Public
Event type 
Seminar, Workshop