The David C. Lincoln Fellowships in Land Value Taxation (LVT) were established in 1999 to develop academic and professional interest in this topic through support for major research projects. The fellowship program honors David C. Lincoln, former chairman of the Lincoln Foundation and founding chairman of the Lincoln Institute, and his long-standing interest in LVT. The program encourages scholars and practitioners to undertake new work in the basic theory of LVT and its applications. These research projects add to the knowledge and understanding of LVT as a component of contemporary fiscal systems in countries throughout the world. This program is administered through the Lincoln Institute's Department of Valuation and Taxation.

2017–2018

Samuel B. Biitir
Lecturer of Real Estate and Land Management, University for Development

Designing Land Value Capture Tools in the Context of Complex Tenurial and Deficient Land Use Regulatory Regimes in Accra, Ghana
Rapid urbanisation in the cities of the developing world have impacted on urban growth resulting in increasing demand for urban infrastructure and services. Yet the necessary financial resources and competencies for local infrastructure production simply do not exist to meet this challenge. The project seeks to examine how land value capture tools can be designed to complement the funding of local infrastructure in a complex tenurial and regulatory regimes in Ghana. The study uses multiple case studies to understand the enabling environment for land value capturing. The study will develop a framework for land value capture for Accra, Ghana.

Gregory S. Burge
Associate Professor of Economics, University of Oklahoma

Shawn Rohlin
Associate Professor of Economics, Kent State University

Location-Based Development Impact Fees and New Business Location Decisions
This research examines the causes and consequences of development impact fee programs now spans four decades. While meaningful contributions to the theory of land value capture are present in this literature, surprisingly little is known about how residential and commercial impact fee programs influence the spatial distribution of firms. This study seeks to empirically investigate the effects of commercial and residential impact fees on the location of new business establishments. Examining impact fees that vary by geography and over time in a lengthy panel data set from Florida, we consider these questions using a quasi-experimental borders approach.

Joshua M. Duke
Professor of Economics, University of Delaware

An Experiment on the Public Acceptability, Efficiency, and Spatial Impacts of Land Value Taxation
This research seeks to understand the efficiency of and political objections to land value taxation (LVT) using experimental economics.  LVT is perceived to create too many “policy losers” and taxes unrealized capital gains.  An experiment is built so that participants can make investment decisions in a virtual land market.  Experiment participants invest either to intensify land use in a central business district or to sprawl outward under LVT and an alternate uniform property tax.  Treatments also allow participants to vote for their preferred tax mechanism and then seek to overcome objections to LVT with behavioral adjustment mechanisms.

2015–2016

Joshua M. Duke
Professor of Economics, University of Delaware

Public Acceptability and Land Value Taxation: An Experimental Economics Investigation
This research seeks to overcome objections to LVT, specifically that LVT creates too many "policy losers" and that it taxes unrealized capital gains.  An economic experiment is built so that participants can make investment decisions in a virtual land market under either LVT or uniform property tax regimes.  Participants vote for their preferred tax mechanism.  Heterogeneous induced values identify what groups "lose" from LVT or "win" but still reject LVT on equity grounds.  The broader research project seeks to measure incentives driving LVT opposition and then to design and test-bed targeted incentives and nudges to increase acceptability.

Christopher England
Ph.D., Georgetown University

Land Value Taxation in Vancouver: A Study in Rent-Seeking and Path Dependency
This is a study of the rise and decline of LVT in Vancouver. The objective is to evaluate the causes for its disappearance in Vancouver, with a view to understanding why LVT regimes have lacked permanence. My hypothesis is that although it functions in the interest of the community, it impedes on the ability of small, organized interests to obtain inordinate returns. That would make opposition to it an example of Mancur Olson's model of rent-seeking. Therefore, LVT is an optimal case for demonstrating how rent-seeking undermines political institutions.

Ryan M. Gallagher
Associate Professor of Economics, Northeastern Illinois University

Fiscal Zoning, Small Homes, and the Property Tax: Evidence from Massachusetts and Chicago
This project introduces several empirical tests of fiscal zoning’s impact on local governments' property tax rates.  Preliminary evidence reported in this proposal motivates two testable hypotheses: (H1) zoning regulations hostile towards small home developments, such as minimum lot size requirements, have the unintended effect of actually reducing a community's property tax base, and, consequently, (H2) implementation of these regulations actually forces communities to raise their effective property tax rates, all else being equal.  These two hypotheses will be tested using a detailed cross-section and a panel of local governments within Massachusetts and the Chicago-area, respectively.

Ronan Lyons
Assistant Professor of Economics, Trinity College Dublin

Implementing Land Value Taxation in Dublin, Ireland: Detailed Estimates and the Impact of Land Use Restrictions
Standard descriptions of LVT highlight the strong relationship between land values and proximity to central business districts. However, this ignores regulation’s pivotal role. Land use restrictions (LURs) fundamentally alter site values by affecting the options open to owners. This project examines this issue, using the case of Dublin, Ireland, a city subject to varying height restrictions and where thousands of sites are subject to preservation orders.

2014–2015

Alex Anas
Professor of Economics, State University of New York at Buffalo

The Effects of Land Value Taxation in Los Angeles and Paris in a Computable General Equilibrium Model (Year 2)
The RELU-TRAN (Regional Economy, Land Use and Transportation) model, a computable general equilibrium model has been econometrically estimated and calibrated for LA and Greater Paris. In Year 1, the tax data for Los Angeles and for Paris was collected. The model was recoded to do revenue neutral substitutions among taxes on income, sales, wedges between wages paid by employers and received by workers and property taxes with structure and land components, as well as congestion tolls. This proposal explains extension of the model in Year 2 to spatial tax variation analysis and tax optimization and the expected results.

Kevin C. Gillen
Economist and Senior Research Consultant, Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania

Guy Thigpen
Director of Research, Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority

The Empirical Development and Application of Land Price Indices
While a broad and extensive literature exists on the estimation and application of house price indices in the analysis of real estate markets, comparatively little research has been done on the development and potential use of land price indices (LPIs). Much like their housing counterparts, LPIs have great potential for multiple applications: tracking changes in the price levels of vacant land, identifying spatial variation in land price appreciation/depreciation, determining the current market value of vacant land, and volume, and as a leading indicator for future development. This study will develop and apply a series of historical LPIs for Philadelphia.

Tina Beale
Program Director, Land Economy and Valuation Surveying Division, University of Technology at Jamaica

Rochelle Channer-Miller
Assistant Lecturer, Land Economy and Valuation Surveying Division, University of Technology at Jamaica

Cadien Murray-Stuart
Senior Lecturer, Land Economy and Valuation Surveying Division, University of Technology at Jamaica

Amani Ishemo
Associate Professor, Urban and Regional Planning Division, University of Technology at Jamaica

Towards Property Tax Compliance: A Case Study of Attitudes Toward Paying Property Taxes in Jamaica
The rate of property tax compliance in Jamaica has been declining, with the average rate of compliance falling from 70% to fewer than 50% between 2003 and 2010. A land value-based property tax is used in Jamaica for the funding of local government services (e.g., street lighting and garbage collection), and is therefore a critical component of providing public goods and services by the state. This study will be carried out in two phases. The first phase focuses on assessing the attitudes of property owners towards the paying of property taxes. These will be gathered from the parishes with the highest, lowest and median compliance rates.  The attitudes identified in Phase One will form the basis of the study for Phase Two. The latter will involve the creation and implementation of a model geared at bringing about a positive change towards property tax compliance.

Robert W. Wassmer
Professor, Department of Public Policy and Administration, California State University at Sacramento

Property Taxation, Its Land Value Component, and the Generation of "Urban Sprawl": The Needed Empirical Evidence
Does the rate of property taxation in an urban area influence its occurrence of "urban sprawl"?  Theory, which relies on the land value component of this taxation, is not clear on this.  Furthermore, methodological concerns in earlier empirical analyses of this issue cast doubt on their reliability.  The proposed use of panel data from 400 plus United States urban areas, various measures of population density as dependent variables, and a more fully specified set of explanatory variables results in greater confidence that the estimated effect of an urban area's rate of property taxation on its population density is valid.

Zhou Yang
Assistant Professor of Economics, Robert Morris University

Differential Effects of Two-Rate Property Taxation: New Evidence from Pennsylvania
This project makes the first attempt to empirically investigate the effect of two-rate (split-rate) property taxation on land value and the differential effects of two-rate property taxation in Pennsylvania. Using a unique and rich dataset, this project proposes a new empirical model to explore the heterogeneity in the responses to changes in property tax structure. The findings of this study have important policy implications and help guide local property tax reform.

2013–2014

David Albouy
Associate Professor of Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Urban Land Value: Measurement and Theory
This project will estimate land-value differences across U.S. metropolitan areas with a large, new database of market values. These differences are explained through site characteristics, lot size, distance and regulations, and are used to estimate production parameters for residential housing, including the income share to land.  The project will also estimate the costs and benefits of "regulatory taxes" on land to determine if they reduce land values. Finally, the theory of urban land values is addressed in an urban system of heterogeneous cities.

Alex Anas
Professor of Economics, State University of New York at Buffalo

The Effects of Land Value Taxation in Los Angeles and Paris in a Computable General Equilibrium Model
The project will utilize the RELU-TRAN (Regional Economy, Land Use and Transportation) model, a dynamic computable general equilibrium model that has been econometrically estimated and calibrated for the Los Angeles and the Greater Paris regions. Systematic simulations for LA and Paris will reveal the effects of a shift toward land taxation on land use densification, population and job dispersion, urban sprawl, the labor markets, and traffic congestion. The simulations would also quantify the economic efficiency and equity effects of shifting taxation away from income and excise taxes toward land taxation in LA and Paris, two very different metro areas.    

Calvin A. Kent
Lewis Distinguished Professor of Business, Marshall University

State and Local Ad Valorem Taxation of Mineral Interests
While property taxes have received extensive attention, particularly in urban contexts, there has been little investigation into ad valorem taxation of mineral interests.  Yet mineral interests have been a major source of property tax revenue for governments in many states.  Their importance has grown due to advances in extraction technology and economic growth.  This study will provide an extensive compilation of the varying methodologies states use for mineral property taxation.  It will also analyze the economic impacts of these taxes and consider how they correspond to George's "Cannons of Taxation."

Zhou Yang
Assistant Professor of Economics, Robert Morris University

The Spillover Effects of the Two-Rate Property Taxes in Pennsylvania: a Zero-Sum Game or a Win-Win Game?
This project will be the first to empirically investigate the spillover effects of the two-rate (split-rate) property taxation on economic activity in surrounding single-rate jurisdictions in Pennsylvania. Using a unique and rich dataset, this project proposes a new empirical model to explore the economic impacts of the two-rate property taxation on adjoining municipalities. The findings of this study have important policy implications and may facilitate the decision-making on property tax reforms by local governments.

2012–2013

David Albouy
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University of Michigan

Urban Land Value: Measurement and Theory
This project estimates land value differences across U.S. metropolitan areas with a large, new database of market values. These differences are explained through local site characteristics, or “amenities,” and are used to estimate production parameters for residential housing, including the income share to land.  The project will also estimate the costs and benefits of “regulatory taxes” on land to determine if they reduce land values. Finally, the theory of urban land values is addressed in an urban system of heterogeneous cities.

Michael Bell
MEB Associates

David Brunori
Research Professor, George Washington Institute of Public Policy

A Better Tax: Thoughts and Research on Replacing Local Option Sales Tax with a Land Value Tax
This study will examine the policy and administrative issues associated with replacing local option sales taxes with a land value or split rate tax system. The study will also include a case study of the local tax system in a demonstration city selected in collaboration with the Lincoln Institute and evaluate the consequences of replacing a local option sales taxes with a land value or split rate tax.>

Aleksandar Bucic
Managing Assistant to Secretary General for Finance, Standing Conference of Serbian Towns and Municipalities

Dušan Vasiljevic
Business Regulation and Economic Governance Team Leader, Cardno Emerging Markets, USAID Business Enabling Project

Continuing Property Tax Reform in Serbia: Capturing Land Value through Integration of the Land Use Charge into Property Tax and Taxing Business Properties
Serbia is one of the countries in South-East Europe that has done most to tap into the potential of the property tax for improving its public finances and making local governments more accountable. However, many issues remain unresolved–notably the taxation of land and properties owned by legal entities (businesses). The fact that the land development charge, a kind of quasi-property tax, will be abolished by 2014, calls for a long awaited overhaul of the property taxation system. The purpose of this research is to model different land taxation options in the context of reforming the taxation of business properties.   

Jeffrey P. Cohen
Associate Professor of Economics, University of Hartford

Replacing the Sales Tax with a Land Tax:  Where, What Goods, and Why?
One approach for encouraging urban economic activity is to lower distortionary taxes (such as local sales taxes), and raise non-distortionary taxes, such as land taxes. Increasing land taxes, while at the same time eliminating distortionary taxes, is an idea that has been popularized by Henry George (1956) and subsequently advocated by many others. These economists have argued that a land tax accompanied by tax cuts in other areas would encourage economic development, while at the same time extracting land rents from landowners without distorting their decisions. A land tax has the potential to encourage greater efficiency in markets and discourage sprawl. Some cities in certain states currently impose sales taxes at the local level in addition to state sales taxes.  This project will assess which goods markets in which states are the best candidates for replacing sales taxes with land value taxes, by estimating elasticities of supply and demand for different goods.  It will also examine which sectors are strong candidates for replacing local taxes with land taxes for several cities in Arizona, which levy separate city excise taxes on business, and vary by sector and across every city; and in cities in Pennsylvania, which are authorized to levy a city sales tax. An aim of this study is to provide guidance to state and local policy-makers who may be considering adoption of land value taxation in Arizona and Pennsylvania, as well as in other states.

Paavo Monkkonen
Assistant Professor, Department of Urban Planning, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs

The Impact of Land Value Taxation on Urban Development: The Mexicali Experience
Taxation affects decisions about property development. Land value taxes are expected to have several advantages over standard property taxes in their impact on urban form, such as promoting more efficient and intensive use of land, limiting land speculation, and facilitating a more compact urban form. The municipality of Mexicali in Baja California, Mexico, began using a land value taxation system in 1989. This project will describe and test hypotheses about the impact of the change in tax policy on urban development in two ways; through interviews of public officials, developers, and landowners, and through analysis of satellite imagery and census GIS data from 1990-2010. 

Zhou Yang
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics and Legal Studies, Robert Morris University

The Effects of the Two-Rate Property Tax: What Can We Learn From the Pennsylvania Experience?
This project empirically investigates the effects of the two-rate (split-rate) property tax on the capital intensity of land development in Pennsylvania. An effective strategy for data collection is developed as the first attempt to overcome the data limitations in the existing literature. The project will draw on the new dataset and use an improved estimation method, to offer a better picture of the overall effects of the two-rate tax and provide policy suggestions regarding the use of land value taxes to combat urban sprawl.

2011–2012

David Albouy
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University of Michigan

Urban Land Value: Measurement and Theory
This project estimates land-value differences across U.S. metropolitan areas with a large, new database of market values. These differences are explained through local site characteristics, or "amenities," and are used to estimate production parameters for residential housing, including the income share to land. We also estimate the costs and benefits of "regulatory taxes" on land to determine if they reduce land values. Finally, the theory of urban land values is addressed in an urban system of heterogeneous cities. Land-rent and federal labor tax payments produce across-city externalities, increasing with city size, meaning that cities could be too small.

Richard Almy
Partner, Almy, Gloudemans, Jacobs & Denne

A Global Compendium and Meta-Analysis of Property Tax Systems
The researcher proposes to build a global, maintainable compendium of significant features of systems for recurrently taxing land and buildings. Revenue statistics and other economic data compiled by international organizations and others will supplement the feature summaries. The summaries will be based on works published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and others describing national property tax systems. The aim of the compendium and meta-analysis is to provide researchers and practitioners with useful facts and patterns of system features, revenue statistics, and other data.

Shawn Rohlin
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University of Akron

Curtis L. Reynolds
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Kent State University

Do Location-based Tax Incentives Improve Quality of Life and Quality of Business Environment?
We will examine how location-based tax incentives affect quality of life and business environment through changes in land values and equilibrium wages. We will use the federal Empowerment Zone program, which offers tax incentives to firms, as a natural experiment to determine whether this form of economic redevelopment policy improves the area. This project will be one of the first to analyze a tax policy that affects only a subset of a metropolitan area by showing that quality of life methodologies can be applied using small geographically-aggregated data, such as census block groups, opening new possibilities to the literature.

2010–2011

Leah Brooks
Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Washington, DC

Byron Lutz
Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Washington, DC

Estimating the Regulatory Land Tax in Boom and Bust
This paper addresses two questions: first, how the regulatory tax - the wedge between equilibrium market price and observed market price due to land use restrictions - varies across the business cycle; and second, whether land assembly - the grouping of small pieces of land into larger clusters - is efficient. The authors estimate efficiency using land valuation methods. If land assembly is not efficient, they seek to determine whether this is due to a private market failure in bargaining between developers and sellers or to the public market failure of the regulatory tax. The study uses detailed property-level data over 11 years for the County of Los Angeles to analyze these questions.

Gregory Burge
Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma

Urban Sprawl, Land Prices, and Impact Fees
Nearly twenty years have elapsed since the topics of development impact fees and urban sprawl were first linked in the literature. Still, surprisingly little is known about how impact fee programs implemented over the past few decades have affected the spatial distribution of urban development and the market values of developed and undeveloped land. This study reviews and extends the theoretical literature considering these relationships and empirically investigates the effects of impact fees on the price of developed and undeveloped urban land, as well as specific measures relating to urban sprawl.

Seong-Hoon Cho
Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Dayton M. Lambert
Assistant Professor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Roland K. Roberts
Professor, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

A Dual-Rate Property Tax: Exploring the Potential for Moderating the Effects of Sprawl on Residential Development at the Metropolitan County Level
This project evaluates the effectiveness of a dual-rate property tax on moderating sprawl. It focuses particularly on how land development decisions accumulate over space, affecting changes in spatial patterns of development. A spatial process model of landowners’ conversion decisions links the effects of a dual-rate property tax on parcel-level land conversion through ex ante simulations, demonstrating with spatial forecasts (1) how the dual-rate property tax promotes development of land around existing infrastructure; and (2) how the dual-rate tax affects the degree of compactness at the metropolitan-county level.

Stanley Longhofer
Professor, Wichita State University, Kansas

Less than Nothing: Land Value Taxation When Land Values are Negative
Recent research attempting to decompose land and structure values has been developed under the implicit assumption that land values will be positive. Theoretically, however, the costs associated with holding land mean that negative land values are perfectly feasible. This project explores the circumstances under which land values are negative and then applies several methods for estimating land values to data in Wichita, Kansas, to determine the prevalence of negative land values in this community over time. Finally, it explores the implications of negative land values for implementing a land taxation regime.

2009–2010

Leah Brooks
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University of Toronto

Byron Lutz
Economist, Fiscal Analysis Section, Division of Research and Statistics, Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Estimating the Regulatory Land Tax in Boom and Bust
Legal restrictions on the development of land create a wedge between the equilibrium market price and the observed market price. This wedge is an indirect tax on land. We use property level data from Los Angeles County from 1999-2009, along with rich information on the nature of land use regulation to measure the magnitude of this tax over the business cycle. We expect that this project will be the first to measure a dynamic regulatory tax and that our detailed measures of the components of regulation will provide useful guidance to policymakers about the relative importance of different regulatory tools. 

Seong-Hoon Cho
Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Tennessee

Dayton M. Lambert
Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Tennessee

Roland K. Roberts
Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Tennessee

Moderating Urban Sprawl through a Two-Rate Property Tax
Through land value taxation, municipalities can reform prevailing property tax schemes to moderate sprawl by reducing the tax rate applied to building values, while increasing the tax rate applied to land values. Such taxation schemes have been referred to as a two-rate property tax (TPT). This project is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of a TPT on compact development in sprawling metropolitan areas. The results from ex ante policy evaluations of TPTs on compact development will provide researchers, policy makers, and those who advise them a way to inform public policymaking in an important, useful, and easily understandable way. 

Jeremy R. Groves
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Northern Illinois University

Estimating the Responsiveness of Residential Capital Investment to Property Tax Differentials
Despite the assumption that residential capital investment is reduced in the presence of higher property taxes as predicted by the New View of property tax incidence, there is little to no empirical evidence supporting this claim. The purpose of this project is to address this gap in the literature by using house level data from the Saint Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area to estimate the responsiveness of residential capital investment to property tax differentials. Capital investment is measured as the square footage of living space of new homes and regressed against property tax differentials and a set of house specific and census data controls. Preliminary findings show the elasticity, after controlling for the endogeneity of the property tax, to be about -0.14 equating a loss of seven hundred square feet for a one standard deviation increase in the property tax differential.

Nicolai V. Kuminoff
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Arizona State University

Jaren C. Pope
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Brigham Young University

Boom-Bust Implications for Property versus Land Value Taxation (A National Analysis Using Micro Data)
A key barrier to introducing a land value tax is the perceived risk associated with increased fluctuations in local property tax revenue. The primary objective of this project is to use a unique micro-level housing dataset of approximately 10 million homes that sold between 1998 and 2009 to estimate land values in localities across the United States. Combined with property tax rates and assessment practices, these local estimates of land value will be used to develop a counterfactual analysis that compares the actual local revenue fluctuations with the revenue fluctuations that could have been expected under a land value tax.

Elizabeth Plummer
Associate Professor, Department of Accounting, Neeley School of Business, Texas Christian University

The Effect of Land Value Ratio on Property Tax Protests and the Resulting Effects on the Assessment Uniformity of Land Values
This project examines the effects of a property's land value ratio on the probability and outcome of an owner protesting the property's assessed value, and the effects of these protests on the assessment uniformity of land values.  I define land value ratio as a property's assessed land value divided by total assessed property value.  The project uses parcel level residential property and appeals data for 2006 through 2009, obtained from Harris County, Texas.  Statistical methods will be used to examine the effect of land value ratio on the likelihood that a property owner files a protest and on the percentage decrease in assessed value realized through the appeals process.  I then examine whether these adjustments decrease assessment uniformity, thereby decreasing horizontal equity.