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The Committee on Taxation, Resources and Economic Development
The Committee on Taxation, Resources and Economic Development was my grandfather's baby, funded largely by the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation, to the best of my knowledge.  He and his second wife, Jessie Tredway Matteson Carter, labored long and hard to make it work, living simply and working well into his 80's and her 70's.   I hope you will indulge me if I include here a quote about him! This from Arthur Becker's acknowledgments for TRED 4:
"I wish to acknowledge the rare talents of Weld Carter, executive secretary of the Committee on Taxation, Resources and Economic Development. His understanding of the taxation of natural resources is exceeded only by his sensitive regard for the scholarly mind. His counsel to the committee and the editor of this book has been inspired, as well as helpful."

Weld was the executive secretary for its first 12 or so years. In the committee's later years, it continued to conduct annual conferences, at least through 1996 (see the article on Bill Vickrey.)

Some of these books are still available on the Schalkenbach website, and the first is available on microfilm.

In Weld's correspondence was this description of TRED:

TRED came into being because a small group of scholars believed that economics, as taught and as practiced, had blinders on, that it was ignoring an aspect of its field that was of fundamental importance. It sought to provide a forum in which these blinders could be, even if only temporarily, removed. It did not seek to impose doctrinaire conclusions. It sought merely to encourage discussion, pro and con, of aspects of its field that had obviously been under a stigma of taboo.

TRED 1: Extractive Resources and Taxation

TRED 2: Property Taxation -- USA

TRED 3: The Property Tax and Its Administration

TRED 4: Land and Building Taxes: Their Effect on Economic Development

TRED 5: The Assessment of Land Value

TRED 6: Government Spending & Land Values: Public Money & Private Gain

TRED 7: Property Taxation and the Finance of Education

TRED 8: Property Taxation, Land Use & Public Policy

TRED 9: Metropolitan Financing and Growth Management Policies

TRED 10: The Taxation of Urban Property in Less Developed Countries

TRED 11: Land Value Taxation: The Progress and Poverty Centenary


TRED 1: Extractive Resources and Taxation, edited by Mason Gaffney

dust jacket: This volume springs from a conference of experts in the field called to discuss the taxation of rent from extractive natural resources. On the assumption that rent is a suitable object for taxation, the problem posed to the group was how to define rent when resources are extractive, and how best to tax it. With an introduction and conclusion by the editor, this book offers the opinions of fourteen other economists on extractive resources and taxation -- ample ammunition for those concerned with plugging loopholes in the tax laws for natural resources.

Of the three major divisions of this book, the first, on theory, develops a basic conceptual framework for analyzing the working of the market in regulating the timing of extraction and the effects of taxation on intertemporal choices. The second part, on institutions, deals with the effect of different tenure systems on economic use and the relations of resource tenure and taxation to competition. The final section concerns policy and draws on the first two parts to suggest some tax and tenure policies best calculated to optimize the timing of use of known resources and of exploration for replacements.

The Editor's Introduction begins "The Importance of Extractive Resources: Mankind signalizes the importance of extractive resources in a number of traditional ways. Nations insist on some political control of their own supplies of raw materials, believing that these are limitational inputs vital to national survival. Among oligopoly firms the same tendency prevails -- most mills try to capture their own resource reserves, in spite of the inflated capital requirements, beacuse the free market in most ores is not reliable and resource ownership is, or might become, a lever of exploitation or control. This insistence on controlling one's own supplies constitutes in the aggregate, indeed, an overrecognition of the importance of extractive resources. It often fosters premature development of excessive reserves: in mining and oil firms the asset-outputratio is higher than in any other industry.

Federal stockpiling of strategic materials is another traditional acknowledgment of the importance of exhaustible resources. Subsidy for exploration is another. Social and legal pressures to retard withdrawal of minerals and to discourage exports are yet others. Every month or two produces its new jeremiad against rising population and living standards, with intimations of Malthusian doom.

Probably most economists would agree that those traditional feelings are, on the whole, overwrought. But there are more sober indicators of the true importance of exhaustible resources. One is the higher wage level in the United States. The perennial question "How can American firms compete with foreign firms which pay lower wage rates?" has as part of its perennial answer that the marginal productivity of American laborers is perennially elevated by their more generous complement of raw materials.

Monopolization of strategic deposits of raw materials is one of the more common means of controlling markets; and in World War II federal priorities and rationing of raw materials were key levers in control of the economy. Exhaustible resources are especially susceptible to concentrated ownership because the workable, accessible high quality deposits are limited. Again the long waiting period between early exploration and ultimate liquidation of many deposits favors concentration of ownership. Only a handful of the ultra-affluent can afford to wait half a century between investment and liquidation; and if we measure the extreme range from first exploration to the last yield from a mine, more than fifty years would be a realistic life. In extractive industries, an average reserve-output ratio of twenty years would not be unusual. But that is like an inventory that turns over only five times a century. Within the industries the financial Titans tend to specialize in ccarrying the financial burden of holding valuable resources, a pattern of ownership that helps set the stage for market and social control. In any complete list of giant corporations and giant personal and family fortunes, mineral holders are conspicuous near the top: oil and gas, coal and iron, and in Europe "chemicals" are paramount; followed by copper, sulfur, lead and zinc, gold and silver, molybdenum, bauxite, uranium, phosphate, potash, nickel, and so on through the list of useful elements.

In public finance, special treatment of exhaustible resources provides one of the major loopholes through which property income escapes taxation. The value of the depletion allowance is a matter of some billions of dollars each year. And in many local jurisdictions the assessor is ill-equipped to put a propert valuation on subsurface mineral possibilities for property-tax purposes.

The development of exhaustible resources is also a source of economic instability. This, like the concentration of ownership, follows from the long waiting period between early exploration and final liquidation. Natural resources might be described as a capital investment of unusual duration. The more durable a capital good, of course, the more subject it is to the acceleration principle and cobweb-type oscillations. Its value is sensitive to small changes in interest rates. Economic instability, studied both empirically and theoretically, is widely agreed to relate closest to investment in durable assets. Added to this, natural-resource owners are prone to form cartels, with their tendency to hold a price umbrella that stimulates submarginal developments and leads, over a long swing of perhaps a generation, to the development of excess capacity and an ultimate boomerang that collapses prices and cartels. 

Part I Theoretical Foundation


1. A Functional Distribution Theory and Analysis of Returns from Commodity Programs for Tobacco and Oil

James A. Seagraves
Associate Professor of Agricultural Economics
North Carolina State College, Raleigh, North Carolina

2. The Theory of the Mine Under Conditions of Certainty

Anthony T. Scott
Professor of Political Economics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia

3. Depletion and Economic Theory

Orris C. Herfindahl
Senior Research Associate, Resources for the Future, Washington, D. C.

4. Resource Exploitation and Optimum Tax Policies: A Control Model Approach

John D. Hogan
Staff Economist, Northwestern Mutual Life Company,
Lecturer in Economics, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Lecturer in Managerial Statistics, Marquette University

Part II Economic Institutions


5. Resource Control and Market Power

David D. Martin
Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Business Economics, Indiana University

6. Resource Control as a Basis for Market Power: The Case of Timber

Walter J. Mead
Professor of Economics, University of California, Santa Barbara

7. Optimization and Taxation in an Open-Access Resource: The Fishery

Giulio Pontecorvo
Professor of Business Economics and Coordinator of Doctoral Studies, Columbia University Graduate School of Business

8. Toward a Disposal Policy for Federally Owned Oil Shales

B. Delworth Gardner
Professor of Business Economics, Director of the CEnter for Social Science Research on Natural Resource Problems, Utah State University

9. Mine Taxation in Developing Countries

Warren Roberts
Professor of Political Science, Wabash College

Part III Policy


10. Natural Resource Taxation: Resource Allocation and Distribution Implications

Henry Steele
Professor of Economics, University of Houston

11. Percentage Depletion, Expensing of Intangibles, and Petroleum Conservation

Stephen L. McDonald
Professor of Economics, University of Texas, Austin

12. Taxing and Exploiting Oil: The Dakota Case

Gene Wunderlich
Chief, Resource Institutions Branch, Resource Development Economics Division, Economic Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture

13. Economic Theory and Resource Policy

Irving Morrissett
Associate Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Industrial Administration, Purdue University

14. Economic Criteria for Optimum Rates of Depletion

William Vickrey
Professor and Chairman, Department of Economics, Columbia University

Editor's Conclusion

Lewis C. Gray

Appendix: Rent Under the Assumption of Exhaustibility

TRED 2 Property Taxation -- USA, edited by Richard W. Lindholm, The University of Wisconsin Press, 1967, 315 pages.

Dust Jacket: There is currently a revival of interest in the United States in the way the property tax has functioned in the past and how it is now operating. Moreover, developing nations are turning to the property tax to meet their fiscal needs. The contributors to this volume consider old and new economic theories and administrative procedures of property taxation. Approaching the subject in a number of ways and considering both practical and theoretical aspects of the topic, the contributors point out that many current administrative practices and legal provisions of the property tax are anachronistic and in need of reform. Their analyses demonstrate, however, that -- particularly if site value is emphasized as the tax base -- the property tax possesses great potential for economic planning and revenue raising. Summarizing many facets of the way the property tax functions, they make constructive suggestions for reform and improvement of the tax to meet present-day demands.

Preface: This is a period of revival of interest in the way the property tax has been applied in the United States and in the way in which the tax may develop in the United States and in other nations of the world. This publication is intended as a contribution to the growing effort to understand how the property tax does work; what can be done to make it work better in the United States; and what should be avoided by new nations interested in developing a strong property tax. In an attempt to realize this goal, a group of some of the world's most knowledgeable persons on the subject of property taxation in the United States were brought together to present papers and to make comments on broad and narrow aspects of this subject.

This book presents the proceedings of the conference, Property Taxation -- USA, which took place on the campus of the University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee during the period June 14-16, 1965. Fourteen of the participants presented detailed examinations of a selected aspect of property taxation in the United States. In this volume, these very informative analyses are divided into three groups, and each group is preceded by an introductory section by the editor. Part I is titled "Some Fundamental Considerations;" Part II is titled "Business and Industry;" and Part III is titled "Special Problems." The contributions of all the conference proceedings has been to permit the reader to approach as closely as possible to becoming an actual participant while keeping the quantity of reading to a reasonable level.

The backgrounds of the conference participants cover a wide range of property-tax experience. All aspects of the taxation of property in the United States. In working toward this goal, some important trends are identified, and old and new theories of property taxation are examined to determine their usefulness in reform and improvement of the tax. In most cases, the papers are based on experience with the subject under consideration but cover some theoretical aspects of the subject as well. They also identify policy implications of the facts and analyses presented. Persons interested in the introduction and administration of improved tax systems in the low per-capita-income developing nations of the world will find the papers and the summary of the informal discussions to be mines of useful advice and information.

The well-publicized weaknesses of the property tax are described, and, when the sources of these weaknesses are explored in paper after paper, a general program for basic property-tax reform emerges. The fundamental reform which appears to be required is the re-emergence of the property tax as a major source of state revenues. These receipts would be used by the states as centrally collected revenues of local governments or as receipts to support state expenditures.

Two other basic policy positions evolve less sharply from the papers, but they are clearly discernible. The first is that a general property tax is much less acceptable than one based largely on land value. The second is that the impacts of income-tax developments in the United States have not been recognized, or have, at best, been considered only intermittently in property-tax legislation.

As the reader goes through these collected papers he will, I am certain, find himself saying (even as I did) that the taxation heritage of the United States -- based on sound democratic principles -- has been permitted to become heavily encrusted with an overlay of special-interest legislation. It is time these accretions were scraped off so that the clean lines of the original may be seen. When the original purposes and methods of reaching them are revealed, the property tax becomes much more attractive to businessmen, to economists, to tax specialists, and -- most important of all -- to taxpayers in general.

The property tax was developed as a general, state-wide tax, and its evolution into a special district and municipal tax was most unfortunate and requires remedy. In the United States, the property tax just does not possess great, unique advantages as a revenue e source within a small geographical area. Actually, many of the small, independent property-taxing jurisdictions are not required for effective local control of government, but are an example of property-tax encrustation through special-interest legislation.

Before the days of the income tax, the property tax was aimed at ability to pay, and many of its current shortcomings arose from efforts to reach income directly. This effort is no longer required. The development of the income tax as the major revenue source of the federal government and the emergence of the federal government as the nation's major tax-gatherer -- plus the wide use of the income tax by state and local governments -- have largely eliminated the original need to justify the property tax by attempting to base it on ability to pay. Individual justice could now be attained if the property tax were based on cost of benefits enjoyed by the property. Social justice could be achieved if the tax took into account society's general expansion in numbers and productivity. Recognition of the property tax's strength in helping society to benefit generally from the land and resource values it is creating seems currently to be growing.

The conference and this book owe much to the stimulus and support of the Committee on Taxation, Resources and Economic Development and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundation. In addition, the participants were assisted in making their contributions by the organizations with which they are associated. The School of Business Administration of the University of Oregon was particularly helpful.

Richard W. Lindholm, Eugene, Oregon, March, 1967

Part I -- Some Fundamental Considerations


Richard W. Lindholm
Professor of Finance and Dean, School of Business Administration, University of Oregon

1. Property-Tax Development: Selected Historical Perspectives

Arthur D. Lynn, Jr.
Professor of Economics and Associate Dean of Faculties, The Ohio State University

2. Past and Future Growth of the Property Tax

Benjamin Bridges, Jr.
Economist, Social Security Administration

3. Conflict between State Assessment Law and Local Assessment Practice

John Shannon
Senior Analyst, Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations

4. Henry George: Economics or Theology?

Reed R. Hansen
Professor of Economics, Washington State University

Part II -- Business and Industry


Richard W. Lindholm

5. Taxation of Agriculture

Raleigh Barlowe
Professor of Agricultural Economics and Chairman, Department of Resource Development, Michigan State University

6. The Taxation of Business Personal Property

Earl E. Burkhard
Personal Property Taxation Consultant, New York

7. Property Taxation of Intangibles

Harold M. Groves
Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin

8. Some Aspects of the Ad Valorem Taxation of Railroads

Lynn A. Stiles
Senior Economist, Federal Reserve Bank, Chicago

9. Property-Tax Inducements to Attract Industry

Paul E. Alyea
Emeritus Professor of Public Finance, University of Alabama

Part III -- Special Problems


Richard W. Lindholm

10. Property-Tax-Rate Limits: A View of Local Government

Irving Howards
Director of the Bureau of Government Research, University of Massachusetts

11. Payments from Tax-Exempt Property

Joan E. O'Bannon
Assistant Professor of Economics, Agnes Scott College

12. Exemptions of Veterans' Homesteads

Bernard E. Sliger
Professor of Economics and Dean, Office of Academic Affairs, Louisiana State University

13. Property-Tax Concessions to the Aged

Yung-Ping Chen
Assistant Professor of Economics, University of California (Los Angeles)

14. Broader Lessons from the History of Lake Superior Iron-Ore Taxation

Clarence W. Nelson
Head of Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank, Minneapolis

Part IV -- Conference Hour Discussions


Eli Schwartz

Conference Hour Topics

Economic Neutrality of Property Taxation

Assessment Ratios

Intensity of Use of the Property Tax

Future Role of the Property Tax

Tax Shifting and Burden

Support of Education

State-Wide Property-Tax Rate

Household Tax Exemption

Investment and Land-Value Taxation

Taxation of Extractive Industries

Tax-Exempt Government and Non-Profit Institutional Property

Conference Hour Participants

Eli Schwartz, Editor

Professor of Finance, Lehigh University

Israel M. Labovitz, Coordinator

Senior Specialist in Social Welfare, Legislative Reference Service, Library of Commerce

Morris Beck

Associate Professor of Economics, Rutgers, The State University (Newark)

Arthur P. Becker

Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

John Henry Denton

Statewide Coordinator of Real Estate Program, University of California (Berkeley)

Werner W. Doering

Property Tax Division of the State of Wisconsin

Karl Falk

Professor of Economics, Fresno State College of California

Mason Gaffney

Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin (Milwaukee)

Jewell J. Rasmussen

Head, Department of Economics, University of Utah

William S. Vickery

Professor of Economics and Chairman, Department of Political Science, Columbia University

Bernard L. Barnard [this name is added in my grandfather's handwriting]

TRED 3: The Property Tax and Its Administration, edited by Arthur D. Lynn, Jr.

dust jacket: In the United States today, the twenty-five billions dollars a year returned by the property tax is exceeded only by the federal income tax as a source of governmental revenue.

The scholars, state officials, and the professional appraiser who are contributors to this volume address themselves to questions of public policy, practicality, and equity in the property levy. They raise hope for (and set limits on) the value of electronic data processing in accurate assessment, while reserving an essential role for the human assessor.

Guarded optimism is expressed for possible state legislative reform required qualified assessors at the local level, full disclosure of assessment ratios, reduction in number of assessment districts, and review of tax-exempt property.

Self-assessment, with penalties of fines or forced selling at the self-assessed price, is proposed as a substitute or supplement to administrative assessment systems and as a transitional device in newly developing countries until an effective property tax administration is established.

After examining the property tax as a tool for implementing public policy in the urban fringe areas of the continental United States, one expert recommends the use of limited tax deferrals. Hawaii's Land Use Law, a measure designed to control state-wide land use to maintain environmental quality under conditions of rapid economic expansion, is analyzed in its relation to the property tax.

This thorough, constructive coverage of the property tax will be valuable to economists as well as to officials of state and local government. Editor Arthur D. Lynn, Jr., is Professor of Economics and Law and Associate Dean of Faculties at Ohio State University.

Preface Both economy and polity have often been influenced by economic and institutional cycles. So also has the property tax. This ancient levy and opinion about its quality have moved through many different phases. The tax base has expanded and contracted. The relative use of the tax has waxed, waned and waxed again. Its public image, as well as its evaluation by specialists, has varied considerably over time.

The property tax has been roundly condemned from time out of mind. Some experts have predicted that, unless greatly and, indeed, promptly, improved, this fiscal institution is destined for early oblivion. Others -- apparently thinking the existing pattern unresponsive to changing circumstances -- anticipate no significant change in present property tax arrangements. Despite such conflicting judgments, it is not unreasonable to expect that some form of the property tax will remain as an important fiscal arrangement for the forseeable future. Accordingly, questions both about barriers to change and about improvement possibilities are of continuing significance.

This book contains the papers presented and the summarized discussion recorded at a conference on the property tax and its administration conducted by the Committee on Taxation, Resources and Economic Development (TRED), an association of academic economists concerned with natural resource taxation. The conference was held at Kenwood Hall, the continuing education center of the University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee, from July 6 through July 8, 1967. The participants considered whether and to what extent administrative patterns and problems, including the assessment process, are obstacles to change in property tax arrangements and ...

[3 pages omitted -- but it would be nice to have them.]

Part I An Overview

1. The Institutional Context of Property Tax Administration

Arthur D. Lynn, Jr.
Professor of Economics and Law and Associate Dean of Faculties, The Ohio State University

2. Is the Property Tax Conceptually and Practically Administrable?

Harold M. Groves
Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin

Part II Administrative Organization

3. Potential for Organizational Improvement of Property Tax Administration

Kenneth C. Back
Finance Officer, Government of the District of Columbia

4. The Effect of Electronic Data Processing upon Property Tax Administration

John D. Cole II
Vice President, Cole-Layer-Trumble Company

5. Improved Property Tax Administration:  Legislative Opportunities and Probabilities

Paul V. Corusy
Executive Director, International Association of Assessing Officers

Part III Assessment Procedures

6. An Evaluation of Self-Assessment under a Property Tax

Daniel M. Holland and William M. Vaughn
Professor of Economics and Department of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technologysin

7. Valuation of Property Interests for Ad Valorem Taxation of Extractive Industry and Agricultural Realty: Problems and Solutions

Anthony G. Ferraro
Director of Appraisals, Colorado Tax Commission -- State of Colorado

8. Assessment of Land in Urban-Rural Fringe Areas

Frederick D. Stocker
Professor of Business Research, The Ohio State University

9. Some Observations on Property Tax Valuation and the Significance of Full Value Assessment

Henry Aaron
Economist, Council of Economic Advisors

10. Assessment Standards: Highest and Best Use as a Basis for Land Appraisal and Assessment

A. M. Woodruff
Chancellor, University of Hartford

Part IV Administration and Evolving Property Tax Policy

11. Property Tax Administration and Hawaii's Land Use Law

Shelley M. Mark
Director, Department of Economic Development and Planning -- State of Hawaii

12. Property Taxation: Policy Potentials and Probabilities

Ronald B. Welch
Assistant Executive Secretary, Property Taxes, State Board of Equalization, State of California

Conference Discussion

Conference Discussants

Paul E. Alyea

Emeritus Professor of Finance, University of Alabama

Lynn F. Anderson

Assistant Director, Institute of Public Affairs, University of Texas

M. Mason Gaffney

Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin --Milwaukee

Peter House

University of Wisconsin --Milwaukee

Richard W. Lindholm

Professor of Finance, University of Oregon

Carl McGuire

Chairman, Department of Economics, University of Colorado

Albert Pleydell

President, Management Services Associates, Inc., and President, Robert Schalkenbach Foundation

William S. Vickrey

Chairman, Department of Economics, Faculty of Political Science, Columbia University

Elsie M. Watters

Director, State-Local Research, Tax Foundation, Inc.


TRED 4 Land and Building Taxes: Their Effect on Economic Development, edited by Arthur P. Becker. 308 pages University of Wisconsin Press, 1969

Preface: While there seems to be general agreement that the property tax plays a significant role in economic development, there is far less agreement on the nature and importance of that role. Concern has been rising as to whether the property tax (and especially the real estate tax) acts as a possible deterrent to continued progress in economic development in general and to urban development in particular. Lack of knowledge about the property tax in the face of this rising concern has prompted the Committee on Taxation, Resources and Economic Development to direct and encourage scholarly attention to the problem.

The primary purpose of the present volume is to help fill this scholarly gap by inquiring into the nature and operation of the components of the real estate tax and how they are related to economic development. Experts in the dual disciplines of the property tax and economic development have shared in the inquiry, and their contributions have been brought together in this volume.

Part I presents a theoretical analysis of taxes on land and buildings and of their broad effect on economic development. Various micro and macro aspects of these taxes are considered in terms of their general impact on the economy. Next, their impact on certain economic problems of development is examined. Taxes on land and building values are analyzed in terns of their effect on the maintenance and rehabilitation of housing, urban renewal, metropolitan growth and planning, and investment in multiple-family housing.

Part II consists of five case studies which attempt to relate the economic development of various countries to their taxes on land and buildings. Political, economic, and social realities that influence the course of economic development in various states and countries often require the adoption of tax institutions considerably removed from what one might regard as ideal. Nevertheless, the different approaches to taxing land and building values in each country are interesting and often instructive.

This book is based primarily on papers delivered at or stimulated by the conference, "The Property Tax and Economic Development," which took place on the campus of the University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee, during 13-15 June 1966. The chapters by Ernest A. Englebert, Albert B. Henley, and Arthur L. Grey, Jr., are based on unpublished papers delivered at earlier conferences, but were included in this volume because they strengthen and complement the other chapters. They have been brought up to date where it was found necessary to do so and have also been integrated with the other papers. John Strasma was in Chile at the time of the conference and therefore was unable to present his paper in person. It fit so well with the others, however, that it was included in Part II.

Arthur P. Becker, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 1969.

Part I Theoretical Aspects of Taxing Land and Buildings


1. Principles of Taxing Land and Buildings for Economic Development

Arthur P. Becker
Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee

2. The Influence of the Property Tax on Investment and Employment

J. A. Stockfisch
Senior Research Associate, Member Research Council, Institute for Defense Analyses

3. Reforming the Real Estate Tax to Encourage Housing Maintenance and Rehabilitation

James Heilbrun
Assistant Professor of Economics, Columbia University

4. Urban Renewal and Land Value Taxation

Arthur L. Grey, Jr.
Chairman and Professor of Urban Planning, College of Architecture and Urban Planning, University if Washington

5. The Political Aspects of Real Estate Taxation in Relation to Metropolitan Growth and Planning

Ernest A. Engelbert
Professor of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles

6. Property Taxation and Multiple-Family Housing

Max Neutze
Senior Fellow in Charge, Urban Research Unit, The Australian National University

Part II Land and Building Taxes: Five Case Studies


7. Land Value Taxation by California Irrigation Districts

Albert T. Henley
Jones, Griswold & Henley, Attorneys-at-Law, San Jose, California

8. Property Taxes and Land-Use Patterns in Australia and New Zealand

A. M. Woodruff and L. L. Ecker-Racz
Chancellor, University of Hartford / Assistant Director, Advisory Committee on Intergovernmental; Relations

9. Property Taxation in Chile

John Strasma
Associate Professor of Economics and Director of the Chile Project, Tenure Center, University of Wisconsin

10. The Valorization Tax in Colombia: An Example for Other Developing Countries?

William G. Rhoads and Richard M. Bird
Chief of Public Finance, Economic Mission of the United States in the Republic of Colombia, Agency for International Development / Associate Professor of Economics, Institute for the Quantitative Analysis of Social and Economic Policy, University of Toronto

11. A Study of Land Taxation in Jamaica

Daniel M. Holland
Professor of Finance, Alfred P. Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Obtaining a Copy


New: Schalkenbach Foundation link



TRED 5: The Assessment of Land Value edited by Daniel M. Holland

dust jacket: The American practice of taxing the improved value of properties is being increasingly criticized as not suited to the needs of contemporary society. Much has been claimed for a site value tax as an alternative to the present property tax, and support for it appears to be growing. This latest TRED volume explores the feasibility of implementing such an alternative.

Proponents of the site value tax see it as an aid in encouraging construction and in alleviating distorted development patterns, such as suburban sprawl and inner city decay. Critics, however, claim that site and improvement values have become so inseparably blended that the tax would be impossible to implement. Moreover, they argue, were land alone the base, an inordinately high rate of taxation would be required. Here, twelve students of public finance, assessors, and planners -- all recognized experts in their fields -- consider whether modern assessment practice is capable of assessing land values with sufficient accuracy to make site value tax administrable. They also address themselves to legal and transitional problems which would develop in changing to a site value tax and consider the prospects for revenue adequacy under such a tax.

The Assessment of Land Value will be of interest and assistance to scholars in economics, business, public finance and administration, political science, planning and urban affairs, and to practicing lawyers, municipal and county administrators, planners, assessors, bankers, developers, and others concerned with the role of property taxation in social development.

1. Can Land be Assessed for Purposes of Site Value Taxation?

Ursula K. Hicks
Formerly University Lecturer in Public Finance, Oxford

2. Defining Land Value for Taxation Purposes

William S. Vickrey
Professor of Economics, Columbia University

3. Land Value Taxation in Light of Current Assessment Theory and Practice

Kenneth Back
Director of Finance and Revenue, Government of the District of Columbia

4. Reckoning with Imperfections in the Land Market

John M. Copes
United Nations Adviser on Land Valuation and Taxation,
United Nations Development Programme, Trinidad

5. Preparation and Use of Land Value Maps

Donald R. Beach
Deputy Director of Property Valuation, State of Arizona

6. Estimating Residential Land Value by Multivariate Analysis

Paul B. Downing
Assistant Professor of Economics, University of California at Riverside

7. A Computerized Assessment Program

Ted Gwartney
Assessor, City of Hartford, Connecticut

8. Legal Problems and Obstacles in Assessing Land for Site Value Taxation

Arthur D. Lynn, Jr.
Professor of Economics and Public Administration, The Ohio State University

9. Adequacy of Land as a Tax Base

Mason Gaffney
Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee

10. Transition to Land Value Taxation: Some Major Problems

C. Lowell Harriss
Professor of Economics, Columbia University

Conference Summary

David Black

TRED 6: Government Spending & Land Values: Public Money & Private Gain edited by C. Lowell Harriss (1973)

Dust jacket: Billions of tax dollars are spent annually on government subsidy programs which are designed to help certain groups, areas, and industries, and contribute to the general welfare. Despite the good intentions of legislators, however, analysts point to evidence that the programs are not only burdensome for the taxpayer but often fail to do their intended jobs. Critics find that major benefits go not to those whom the programs are designed to help, but to others who can "capitalize" on them.

One major feature of the subsidy benefit pattern -- unintended but predictable -- is the capitalization of land values. The value of land will increase when the benefits, chiefly money income, are enhanced by government subsidization. When the land is sold, the benefit of a subsidy which seems likely to continue will be captured by the seller. Thereafter, tax funds that continue to subsidize a program will not fully benefit those for whom they were presumably intended, but the seller will have made a capital gain.

A classic example can be drawn from the experience of federal farm programs. Taxpayers and consumers have been spending billions annual to aid some farmers. In practice, of course, these programs have often -- and intentionally -- reduced farm output and raised consumer prices. The consumer-taxpayer is thus dealth a double blow, in effect subsidizing an increase in his own food prices. Yet the operating farmer, burdened with a higher land price, fails to get the full benefits of the programs established for his welfare.

In farm programs, as in some other subsidy programs, the expected annual benefits are capitalized into higher land prices. Then, after land prices have gone up to reflect these benefits, the annual payments to farm operators in effect support the higher land prices. In effect, the seller of land realizes the benefits of government subsidy into perpetuity. A somewhat similar pattern is to be expected in other public spending programs, including those concerned with urban renewal, where benefits are localized. The pattern shows that farm programs do not raise wages of low-paid farm labor, that urban projects do not rid cities of slums, and that the taxpayer-consumer bears the burden of both.

This volume explores, and at least attempts to define, the extent to which land values tend to capture the benefits of subsidies and other government spending through capitalization. It includes papers by proponents as well as critics. The contributors, who include some of the nation's leading economists, discuss the nature and effects of farm and housing programs, commodity price supports, transportation outlays, land preservation projects, water resource development, and urban renewal programs. Their work will be of more than routine interest to economists, political scientists, lawyers, political officeholders and government officials, planners, and all others who seek to unravel the complex fabric of multi-billion-dollar government spending programs.


C. Lowell Harriss

Part I Introduction and Theory

1. The Economics of Federal Subsidy Programs

Jerry J. Jasinowski
Research Economist, The Joint Economic Committee

2. The Capitalization of Property Taxes and Subsidies

Raymond L. Richman
Professor of Economics, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh

Part II Housing and Agricultural Subsidies

3. Federally Subsidized Housing Program Benefits

Henry B. Schechter
Senior Specialist in Housing, The Library of Congress

4. Capital and Current Expenditures in the Production of Housing

Richard F. Muth
Professor of Economics, Stanford University

5. The Incidence of Benefits from Commodity Price-Support Programs: A Case Study of Tobacco

Robert F. Boxley and William D. Anderson
Agricultural Economist and General Attorney,
Natural Resources Economics Division, United States Department of Agriculture

6. The Benefits and Burdens of the United States Sugar Quota System

Roy A. Ballinger
Agricultural Economist, United States Department of Agriculture

Part III: Transportation, Water, and Other Factors Affecting Land Value

7. Transportation Outlays: Who Pays and Who Benefits?

Martin O. Stern and Robert U. Ayres
Senior Staff Member and Vice President,
International Research and Technology Corporation

8. Estimating the Benefits of Stream Valley and Open Space Preservation Projects

Robert E. Coughlin and Thomas R. Hammer
Vice President and Research Associate,
Regional Science Research Institute

9. Land Value Increments as a Measure of the Net Benefits of Urban Water Supply Projects in Developing Countries: Theory and Measurement

Royl W. Bahl, Stephen P. Coelen, and Jeremy J. Warford
Professor of Economics and Graduate Student, Syracuse University;
Economist, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

10. Capitalization of the Benefits of Water Resource Development

Darwin W. Dalcott
Professor of Economics, University of Kansas

Part IV: Urban Renewal: A Seminar

11. The Distribution of Benefits and Costs of the Federally Subsidized Urban Renewal Programs

Arthur P. Becker
Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee


TRED 7: Property Taxation and the Finance of Education, edited by Richard W. Lindholm

Dust jacket: No single tax as aroused so much heated or widespread public controversy in the past decade as the property tax, which is the major single source of support for public elementary and secondary education.

In this volume, more than twenty experts -- including tax economists, a lawyer and a professor of education administration -- present their reasoned views on the strengths and weaknesses of the property tax system, while comparing it with other possible revenue sources. Together, they develop a comprehensive theory and philosophy of the use of the property tax and land value taxation to finance public education.

The contributors give thorough consideration to the impact of recent court decisions in California, Texas and New Jersey on the use of the property tax to finance education, and they present three special studies of the specific problems of the Boston, Baltimore and Chicago systems.

The entire problem of the relation of the property tax and the land value tax to taxpayer ability to pay is analyzed in depth. The contributors give full consideration to alternative sources of educational support, and they examine the strengths and weaknesses of a uniform statewide property or land value tax. Their work makes clear their belief that the structure and administration of the property tax can be improved in virtually all areas of the country, but that we are not yet prepared to abandon the property tax as a major educational support source.

This, the first book to explore this problem fully, will be of immediate and lasting value to everyone concerned with this crucial area of public policy. Legislators will depend on this material to act with confidence in deciding on basic education finance policies. School superintendents will welcome it for its new insights in the light of recent developments in other regions. Government officials and tax lawyers will depend on it for its reliable summary of current knowledge and its informed opinions. Finally, this book will be called upon to serve in many college and university courses dealing with both taxation and education.

Preface: The costs of education provided for the young people of America has skyrocketed because of the greater numbers in the basic education age bracket and the rapidly rising costs of instruction. One result of this situation has been a greater increase of property tax collections than was generally considered twenty years ago. Rising costs have caused local property tax collections to increase more rapidly than personal income.

For many years the data have clearly demonstrated a close association in many sections of the nation between property tax rates and school financing requirements, and the lack of a close association between the value of taxable property and school revenue needs. State education foundation programs and related state revenue allocation schemes have been adopted to reduce the obvious inequitableness of the situation. It is very generally realized these programs have failed to do the equalization of the economic burden of public education that is required under the general understanding of equal treatment clauses of many state constitutions. As a result, court decisions, citizen protests, and the findings of numerous studies have examined new approaches to the finance of education. It has become one of America's major areas for social-political-economic examination aimed at change.

This book presents the papers and discussions of a conference titled Property Taxation and the Finance of Education, that was held on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, during the period October 20-22, 1972. The conference's purpose was to examine what has been learned in this general area through special studies, legal considerations, and theoretical economic analyses.

Twenty of the participants presented papers that carefully considered important aspects of the finance of education. Although the emphasis is on finance and American procedures, consideration is given to expenditure effectiveness and foreign experience.

The four groupings of papers and discussions have been made to assist the reader in where to place his original emphasis. Understanding of the problem requires the interaction and combination of many types of information. Therefore, compartmentalization and a given organization can only be offered as one approach to understanding.

The first grouping used is titled "Theoretical and General Considerations." The papers and discussions of Part I give perspective to the problem through provision of background materials of a historical, international, theoretical and political character. The Conference Review Hour tackles the question of the relationship between financing and the purpose of education.

Part II, titled "Statewide Approaches" examines the general character of the property tax as a source of education financing funds. Attention is concentrated on the use of uniform statewide taxes. Although some emphasis is given to statewide taxes other than a property tax, it is the property tax, and particularly site value taxation, i.e., taxation of land, that receives the major attention. The Conference Review Hour is largely concerned with the location of the economic burden of the property tax.

Part III, "Legal Adjustments and Restrictions," considers the legal adjustments that court decisions are requiring and the restrictions that may be placed on taxation procedures used to finance education. The experts and the states have been chosen to assure consideration of a variety of legal and legislative situations. The Conference Review Hour examines the relation of local control to statewide financing.

Part IV centers on school finance developments in metropolitan areas and is titled "Metropolitan Area and City Fiscal Environment."  Again, revenue sources other than a property tax are considered, but this time the desirability of alternatives is related to local conditions. Consideration is given to spending decisions for education arising from the local election process. The Conference Review Hour considers a variety of topics, including the taxable base of the income tax and the local government needs of older people.

The moderator of the Conference Review Hour was Professor Daniel M. Holland, editor of the National Tax Journal. Professor Eli Schwartz of Lehigh University has edited the materials presented at the Conference Review Hours. The editor wishes to than all of the participants for their wonderful cooperation and to ask forgiveness for all inconveniences his efforts caused.

The Conference and this book owe much to the stimulus and support of the Committee on Taxation, Resources and Economic Development (TRED) and the John C. Lincoln and the Robert Schalkenbach Foundations.

Richard W. Lindholm, Eugene, Oregon, November 1, 1973

Part I Theoretical and General Considerations

1. Financing Education in the United States: Selected Historical Perspectives

Arthur D. Lynn, Jr.
Professor of Economics and Public Administration, The Ohio State University

2. Financing Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Soviet Union

Harold J. Noah
Professor of Economics and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

3. Financing Methods and Demand for Education

Peter Bohm
Associate Professor of Economics, University of Stockholm

4. Pitfalls and Policy Analysis in School Finance Reform

Anthony W. Cresswell
Assistant Professor of Educational Administration, Northwestern University

5. Less Developed Nation Education Need

James L. Green
Professor of Economics, University of Georgia

Conference Review Hour

Part II Statewide Approaches

6. Finance of Education with a Statewide Land Tax

John Riew
Professor of Economics, Pennsylvania State University

7. Looking at Tax Choices in Statewide Finance of Education

Douglas Y. Thorson
Professor of Economics, Bradley University

8. Hawaii and Oregon: Graded Property and Land Value Taxation

Richard W. Lindholm
Professor of Finance, University of Oregon

9. The Future of the Property Tax in Education Finance

George M. Raymond
Professor of Regional Planning, Pratt Institute

10. The Finance and Allocation of Educational Resources

Ronald E. Grieson
Assistant Professor of Economics, Queens College

Conference Review Hour

Part III Legal Adjustments and Restrictions

11. Competition between Local School and Nonschool Functions for the Property Tax Base

Seymour Sacks; Ralph Andrew, Paul O'Farrell, and Jerry Wade
Professor of Economics, Syracuse University

12. California and the Finance of Education: Alternatives in the Wake of Serrano v. Priest

W. Craig Stubblebine and Ronald K. Teeples
Associate & Assistant Professors of Economics, Claremont Men's College

13. Fiscal Reform in New Jersey: Proposals Affecting School Finance and Property Taxation

Morris Beck
Professor of Economics, Rutgers University

14. Property Taxation, Full Valuation, and the Reform of Educational Finance in Massachusetts

Daniel L. Rubinfeld
Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Michigan

Conference Review Hour

Part IV Metropolitan Area and City Fiscal Environment

15. Social, Political and Economic Analysis of the Finance of Education in the Baltimore Area

William H. Oakland
Professor of Economics, The Ohio State University

16. The Impact of Changes in Local Property Taxation and School Finances on Metropolitan Development

Robert N. Schoeplein
Associate Professor of Economics, University of Illinois

17. Land Value Taxation and the Finance of Education in Metropolitan Areas

Terrie Jean Gale
Social Science Analyst, Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

18. Local Impacts of Alternative Methods of Financing Education

Charles Waldauer
Professor of Economics, Widener College

19. Budgetary Outcomes in a Referendum Setting

Noel M. Edelson
Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Pennsylvania

Conference Review Hour

Conference Summary and Synthesis

Richard W. Lindholm
Professor of Finance, University of Oregon

Conference Hour:

Arthur P. Becker

Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee

Harvey E. Brazer

Professor of Economics, University of Michigan

Joseph S. DeSalvo

Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee

Paul B. Downing

Associate Professor of Economics, University of California -- Riverside

Karl Falk

First Federal Savings & Loan Association, Fresno, California

Daniel R. Fusfeld

Professor of Economics, University of Michigan

William S. Vickrey

Professor of Economics, Columbia University

M. Mason Gaffney

Director, British Columbia Institute for Economic Policy Analysis, University of Victoria

Carl W. McGuire

Professor of Economics, University of Colorado

Richard Rossmiller

Professor of Education, University of Wisconsin--Milwaukee

Jonathan A. Rowe

Tax Reform Research Group, Washingon, D.C.

Ferdinand P. Schoettle

Professor of Law, University of Minnesota

John Shannon

Assistant Director, Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Washington, D. C.


TRED 8: Property Taxation, Land Use & Public Policy edited by Arthur D. Lynn, Jr.

Preface: One reviewer of an earlier volume in the TRED series noted that the group had once again "rushed in where angels fear to tread." Such may again the the case here where, despite the natural and obvious limitations that a relatively brief conference imposed upon both the breadth and depth of consideration possible, property taxation, land use, and public policy are explored in order to ascertain at least in a preliminary fashion the impact of the interrelationship of property taxation and land use patterns upon present and prospective public policy.

Recent years have witnessed a growing national debate about appropriate public policy designed to enhance the quality and style of life in a technological society. One conference, which considers only a particular subset of that debate, can at best make only an incremental contribution to the range of understandings conducive to formation of the consensus necessary for effective agreement about appropriate public policy. Nonetheless, given that caveat dictated by what might be termed becoming modesty, we are convinced of the cumulative value of such contributions to the process of long-run policy determination.

Property taxation has been much considered by TRED as well as by many other observers and analysts. The tax has been roundly criticized time out of mind, and certainly the phrase natura non facit saltum is descriptive of the process of adjustment and improvement of this ancient levy. Nonetheless, positive development occurs. Ronald Welch recently noted five significant changes in the property tax during the past four decades. These included its virtual elimination as a source of state revenues, a relative decline as a source of local government general revenue, a substantial increase in total revenue dollars produced, a tendency to become less general in coverage due to the development of both increased exemptions and additional classification of property categories for ad valorem tax purposes, and finally, distinct improvements in property tax administration.* His summary comment serves to remind us that change occurs even if sometimes only at a glacial rate. Even so, concern continues about the effect of the tax upon land use and resource allocation as well as the character and results of the tax in terms of received criteria such as economic neutrality and distributional equity. Similarly, while classifications or exemption have often accorded preferential treatment to farm land, household personalty, and business inventories, significant analytical and policy questions remain concerning possible partial or complete untaxing of improvements and the classification of land for ad valorem tax purposes.

While property tax change has progressed at a rather slow and uneven pace, a congeries of other developments have generated increased interest in both urban and rural land use policy, especially the former. Many concerned with land use improvement potentials have concluded from their examination of the evidence that land use planning must be strengthened and improved, especially at the state level. In this connection, the possibility of adjustment of the property tax base from land and improvements to heavier taxation of land has received renewed attention not merely in terms of traditional justifications but also in relation to the presumed land use effects of such a policy change. Accordingly, it seemed appropriate for the Committee on Taxation, Resources and Economic Development (TRED) to consider the impact of the interrelationship of property taxation and land use patterns upon public policy, including but by no means limited to the potential untaxing of improvements.

[remainder omitted; much of it summarizes the table of contents.]

Part I A Current Appraisal

1. Property Taxation and the Political System

Glenn W. Fisher
Regents Professor of Urban Affairs, Wichita State University

2. Property Taxation: A Reappraisal of Burden, Incidence, and Equity and their Policy Implications

George F. Break
Professor of Economics, University of California--Berkeley

3. Responses to Rodriguez: More Reform or Less?

John M. Payne
Professor of Law, Rutgers University Law School

4. Property Tax Administration: Current Conditions and Future Possibilities

Kenneth Back
Director of Finance and Revenue, Government of the District of Columbia

Part II  Land Use Effects

5. Municipal Expenditures and the Composition of the Local Property Tax Base

Helen F. Ladd
Department of Economics, Wellesley College

6. Toward Full Employment with Limited Land and Capital

Mason Gaffney
Professor of Economics, University of Victoria

7. Property Taxation, Land Use, and Environmental Policy: The Alaska Case

Douglas N. Jones
Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress

8. Property Taxation, Land Use, and Rationality in Urban Growth Policy

Frederick D. Stocker
Professor of Economics and Public Administration, The Ohio State University

Part III Public Policy Alternatives

9. Property Tax Redesign Options: Productive or Counterproductive?

C. Lowell Harriss
Professor of Economics, Columbia University, and Economic Consultant, Tax Foundation, Inc.

10. Property Taxation: Federalism and Federal Policy

John Shannon
Advisory Committee on Intergovernmental Relations

11. Property Tax Reform and Public Policy Reality

Dick Netzer
Dean, Graduate School of Public Administration, New York University

Summary Discussion and Evaluation of Policy Alternatives

Daniel M. Holland, Provocateur; Eli Schwartz, Editor
Professor of Finance, Alfred P. Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

TRED 9: Metropolitan Financing and Growth Management Policies, edited by George F. Break

dust jacket: What, if anything, should be done to control the rate of urban growth or to direct it into particular activities?

How should zoning laws be changed to achieve the most efficient patterns of urban land use?

How great is the risk that a move toward areawide metropolitan government would increase locat hal government expenditures and tax burdens?

How real are the fears that higher local taxes will repel business enterprises and thereby frustrate the efforts of hard-pressed city governments to raise more money?

How can the property tax be improved and what will be the effects of different measures designed to do so?

How would different families be affected by a shift from local property to local income taxation or by the assumption of more state responsibility for the financing of particular local government programs?

What impact does the federal income tax have on local land use and development, and which federal tax reforms should local officials especially push for?

This book addresses some of the most heatedly discussed of contemporary urban issues and problems, centering around policies and practice of metropolitan financing and growth mangement. Included are examinations of the experience in Oregon (which, in 1973, became the first state to adopt statewide regulations on land use), as well as in Toronto, Boston and Milwaukee. The three chapters on property tax reform will be of special interest to those who have long questioned the theory and implementation of this, the nation's major source of support for primary and secondary public education.


George F. Break
Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley

Part I Growth Management

1. Local Taxes and Intraurban Industrial Location: A Survey

William H. Oakland
Professor of Economics, The Ohio State University

2. Property Taxation and Land Use Control Policies in Oregon

Richard W. Lindholm
Professor of Finance, University of Oregon, Eugene

3. Federal Tax Policy and Land Conversion at the Urban Fringe

George E. Peterson
Director of Public Finance, The Urban Institute

Part II Metropolitan Finance

4. Three Aspects of Urban Land Use Regulation

Peter Mieszkowski
Professor of Economics, University of Houston

5. The Effect of Property Taxes on the Capital Intensity of Urban Land Development

Donald C. Shoup
Associate Professor of Public Administration, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University

6. Toronto Metropolitan Finance: Selected Objectives and Results

Gail C. A. Cook
Executive Vice President, C. D. Howe Research Institute, Montreal

7. Urban Property Taxation in Less Developed Countries: Fiscal and Growth Management Dimensions

Roy W. Bahl
Professor of Economics and Director, Metropolitcan Studies Program, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Part III Property Tax Reform

8. Property Tax Exporting and Differential Incidence of the Homestead Exemption

Larry D. Schroeder and David L. Sjoquist
Associate Professor of Public Administration, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University, and
Associate Professor of Economics, Georgia State University

9. Estimating the Impact of Full Value Assessment on Taxes and Value of Real Estate in Boston

Daniel M. Holland and Oliver Oldman
Professor of Finance, Alfred P. Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and
Professor of Law and Director of the International Tax Program, Harvard Law School

10. The Burden on the City of Milwaukee and Its Residents of the Real Property Tax Compared with the Individual Income Tax

Arthur P. Becker and Hans R. Isakson
Professor of Economics, University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee and Assistant Professor of Real Estate and Urban Economics, University of Georgia

Summary Discussion and Evaluation

Henry O. Pollakowski, Provocateur and Editor
Assistant Professor of Economics, University of Washington

TRED 10: The Taxation of Urban Property in Less Developed Countries, edited by Roy W. Bahl

from the dust jacket Taxes on property are the single most important source of locally raised tax revenue for urban governments in less developed countries. Moreover, since central and state governments have generally preempted the sales and income tax bases, and since urban government expenditure needs to continue to press, it seems likely that the role of rban property taxes will become even more important.

Yet with this importance and potential, surprisingly little is known about the practive of urban property taxation in less developed countries. Comparative norms are not available, and there has been little information compiled about successful and unsuccessful experiences, despite a rich history of experimentation with urban property taxation in developing countries, particularly with the use of the tax to influence the use of urban land.

The objective of this volume, and the TRED conference from which it came, is to take a step toward filling this gap in our knowledge about the practice and impacts of urban property taxes in less developed countries. This volume will be of interest and value to economists, political scientists, historians, and all scholars and students whose interests include the problems of developing countries. Planners, managers, and other professionals in government and industry will also find much of value here.


Roy W. Bahl
Professor of Economics and Director, Metropolitan Studies Program, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Part I Current Practice

1. The Practice of Urban Property Taxation in Less Developed Countries

Roy W. Bahl

Part II Distributional Considerations

2. The Relevance of the New View of the Incidence of the Property Tax in Less Developed Countries

Charles E. McLure, Jr
Vice President, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc., Professor of Economics, Rice University

3. The Incidence of Urban Property Taxation in Colombia

Johannes F. Linn
Economist, Urban and Regional Economics Division, World Bank

4. Adjusting the Property Tax for Growth, Equity and Administrative Simplicity: A Proposal for La Paz, Bolivia

Daniel M Holland
Professor of Finance, Alfred P. Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Part III Land Use Effects

5. The Effects of Land Taxes on Development Timing and Rates of Change in Land Prices

Roger S. Smith
Professor of Economics and Dean, Faculty of Business Administration and Commerce,
University of Alberta, Canada

6. "Land Readjustment" as an Alternative to Taxation for the Recovery of Betterment: The Case of South Korea

William A. Doebele
Professor of Advanced Environmental Studies in the Field of Implementation, Harvard University

7. Land Taxation in Taiwan: Selected Aspects

C. Lowell Harriss
Professor of Economics, Columbia University, Economic Consultant, Tax Foundation, Inc. and Associate, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Part IV Administrative Considerations

8. Some Administrative Aspects of Site Value Taxation: Defining "Land" and "Value"; Designing a Review Process

Oliver Oldman and Mary Miles Teachout
Professor of Law & Director and Research Associate of the International Tax Program, Harvard Law School

9. The Elasticity of Property Taxes on Site Value and Improved Value

Oliver Oldman and Ching-mai Wu
Professor of Law & Director and Instructor in Economics, the International Tax Program, Harvard Law School

10. A History of Jamaica's Experience with Site Value Taxation

O. St. Clare Risden
Commissioner of Valuation, Jamaica, West Indies

11. Site Value Rating in Johannesburg, South Africa

John McCulloch
City Valuer of Johannesburg, South Africa

Part V Concluding Discussion

12. The Taxation of Urban Property in Less Developed Countries: A Concluding Discussion

Carl S. Shoup
McVickar Professor Emeritus of Political Economy, Columbia University


TRED 11 Land Value Taxation: The Progress and Poverty Centenary, edited by Richard W. Lindholm and Arthur D. Lynn, Jr.

Dust jacket: In these days of economic doubt and turmoil, the writings of the classical economists are being reexamined with more than ordinary interest. A century ago, the American economist Henry George published his best-known work, Progress and Poverty.

George's ideas, although they created a stir at the time, never found a place in the mainstream of American economic thought as they did, for instance, in Australia and New Zealand. American democratic-capitalism, rather, was later built on the aggregate economic thought of John Maynard Keynes and a long string of successors who followed macro-type economic analysis and had no fear of government deficits. The country's current economic problems have not, however, found solutions in Keynesian economics. Perhaps, suggest the contributors to this volume, it is time to reexamine the revolutionary philosophy of Henry George.

George offered an answer to Marxism that has never been accepted widely in other developed or developing countries. Each of this volume's contributors -- both seasoned economists and young experimental economists -- adds to an understanding of why the George alternative to both Keynes and Marx has never been really accepted, and what promise it holds for resolving some of today's problems.

This is the first book to assess the potential of George's land taxation philosophy to eliminate inflation, balance governmental budgets, increase investment and productivity, and expand opportunities for employment in both developed and developing economies. Sections by Alan Prest and Kenneth Boulding are essential for a basic understanding of the Georgian perspective. Mason Gaffney and Matthew Edel provide a historical understanding for George's lack of acceptance in the past, while sections by Arlo Woolery, Richard Lindholm, and Roger Sturtevant show how George's land tax concepts can be applied to local government in the United States.

George's theory stems from his interest in the maximum utilization of resources and his observation that among the foundations of production land is unique because the supply does not change with price shifts. He observed that, while the cost of land rises as population grows and production increases, the increased income from the land does not, and cannot, result in a meaningful expansion of supply.

He saw, too, that while governments needed more money to provide necessary services for growing populations, other forms of increased taxation had serious negative effects. Taxes on wages reduced the efficiency and availability of labor, while taxes on capital reduced investment. Higher taxes on land, however, could be collected without reducing the returns to labor and capital. In addition, land taxes could encourage full use of land potential.

This thorough reexamination of Henry George, and of the potential value of his thought to the economic problems of the 1980s, will be of immediate interest not only to practicing economists and educators, but also to all those who are searching for bold and well-reasoned answers to many of our most disturbing economic problems, world, national, state, and local.

Preface: The year 1979 was the centenary year of Progress and Poverty, the first and most important work of that unique American analyst and philosopher, Henry George. Accordingly, it is appropriate to consider anew George's particular role in American tax thought. This book reports the papers and summarizes the discussions held at the 1978 Conference of the Committee on Taxation, Resources and Economic Development (TRED). The discussions here included take a careful look at the writings and conceptual positions of Henry George (1839-1897); they explore the usefulness of George's philosophy in dealing with the modern forms of the problems he considered a century ago.

The papers included were prepared by both general philosophical and specialized tax economists, as well as by practicing tax administrators from both Europe and the United States. Although the preparers of papers and their several discussants represent a broad spectrum of tax and economic thought, a general, if tentative, consensus develops. It is that George's land tax possesses significant utility as a source of government revenue, especially for local government. Therefore, wider use of land value as a tax base merits the attention of policy makers.

The United States continues to be a country of great progress with substantial pockets of poverty a century after George wrote of this in Progress and Poverty. George advocated wide and substantial use of a tax on land, combined with sharply reduced taxes on earnings and economic endeavor, in order to alleviate poverty and stimulate progress. Yet his followers have enjoyed only modest political, practical and academic success. Currently spiraling land prices, general inflation, and the shortage of investment produce economic conditions that suggest a reappraisal of tax incentives and disincentives. The analysis of this book and the conference that it represents, Land Value Taxation in Thought and Practice, will give added insight and confidence to those considering tax system design and the place of land as a tax base in that context. Both the 1978 conference and this book owe much to the stimulus and support of both the members of the Committee on Taxation, Resources and Economic Development and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. As the late Harold Groves once remarked, Henry George's contribution contains elements of truth that are of enduring importance. It is appropriate to recall this fact a century after the publication of his major work.

Richard W. Lindholm, Eugene, Oregon
Arthur D. Lynn, Jr., Columbus, Ohio
November, 1980

Part I The Basics of Henry George's Philosophy


1. A Second Look at Progress and Poverty

Kenneth E. Boulding
Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado

2. An Introduction to Henry George

Weld S. Carter
Antioch, Illinois

Comment Centered on Land Speculation

Part II Land Taxation Revenue Potential


3. Land Value Tax Revenue Potentials: Methodology and Measurement

Shawna P. Grosskopf and Marvin B. Johnson
Department of Economics, Southern Illinois University;
Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Wisconsin -- Madison

4. Defining and Measuring Land Value --  A Progress Report

Mary Miles Teachout
Harvard Law School

5. American Land Tax Roots: Plus Experimentation in Oregon

Richard W. Lindholm and Roger G. Sturtevant
College of Business Administration, University of Oregon, Eugene

6. Land Value Taxation: Administrative Feasibility -- Retrospect and Prospect

Ronald B. Welch
Sacramento, California

Comment Centered on Land Valuation

Part III Impact of the Use of Land as a Tax Base


7. Henry George and Tax Reform -- 100 Years Later

George F. Break
Department of Economics, University of California, Berkeley

8. United Kingdom Land Taxation in Perspective

Alan R. Prest
Department of Economics, The London School of Economics

9. Two centuries of Economic Thought on Taxation of Land Rents

Mason Gaffney
Department of Economics, University of California, Riverside

10. The Fairhope, Alabama, Land Tax Experiment

Arlo Woolery
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, Massachusetts

11. Capital, Profit and Accumulation: The Perspectives of Karl Marx and Henry George Compared

Matthew Edel
Department of Urban Studies, Queens College

Comment Centered on Economic Reform and Future TRED Topics


Kenneth C. Back

Finance Department, Government of District of Columbia

Roy W. Bahl

Metropolitan Studies Program, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University

Arthur P. Becker (deceased)

Department of Economics, University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee

Charles C. Cook

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, Cambridge, Massachusetts

William S. C. Deyll

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Karl Falk

Fresno, California

Philip Finkelstein

Center for Local Tax Research, New York, New York

C. Lowell Harriss

Department of Economics, Columbia University

Daniel M. Holland

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Arthur D. Lynn, Jr.

School of Public Administration and Department of Economics, The Ohio State University

Carl W. McGuire

Department of Economics, University of Colorado

Dick Netzer

Graduate School of Public Administration, New York University

H. Clyde Reeves

Frankfort, Kentucky

William S. Vickrey

Department of Economics, Columbia University

Hartojo Woignjowijoto

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Amazon, 4/8/2001:

TRED 5: The Assessment of Land Value by Daniel Holland (Hardcover - June 1970) Special Order Our Price: $5.00

TRED 9: Metropolitan Financing and Growth Management Policies (Hardcover - 1979) Special Order Our Price: $5.00

TRED 4: Land and Building Taxes: Their Effect on Economic Development (Hardcover) Special Order Our Price: $8.00

Fiscal Federalism and the Taxation of Natural Resources : 1981 Tred Conference by Charles E. McLure, Peter Mieszkowski (Editor) Out of Print

Land Value Taxation : The Progress and Poverty Centenary by R Lindholm (Hardcover - July 1982) Special Order Our Price: $8.00

TRED 3: The Property Tax and Its Administration (Hardcover - 1969) Special Order Our Price: $5.00

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Wealth and Want
... because democracy alone hasn't yet led to a society in which all can prosper