As real wages stagnate, racial disparities grow, and housing prices soar in cities across the US, local governments are increasingly adopting laws and regulations that aim to reduce inequalities and improve access to economic opportunity for their residents. At the same time, states are increasingly enacting laws that limit or preempt local action in these areas, often relying on a thin or nonexistent evidence base to suggest that local regulation is inefficient or overly burdensome. Inclusionary zoning is one domain that has become increasingly subject to state preemption. Proponents of state preemption of inclusionary zoning often cite concerns about its impacts on private development and prices. Those advocating against preemption argue that affordable housing is most effectively approached at the local level because policy efforts can best be tailored to local market characteristics and needs. In this brief, we synthesize the evidence on the effectiveness of local inclusionary zoning laws and suggest areas in which further research could help policymakers, advocates, and the public improve state and local laws regarding inclusionary zoning.
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