Land Value Taxation in theory and practice

Below are links to some documents and videos about land value taxation (LVT).  Several organizations providing research and/or assistance in evaluating or implementing LVT are linked on the front page.

Assessor Ted Gwartney reviews his career, highlighting the success of  Southfield, Michigan, in moving toward land value taxation (video)

Josh Vincent of the Center for the Study of Economics on Land Value Taxation in Pennsylvania as an Economics Development, Planning, and Tax Reform Tool. (video)

Use-Value Assessment of Rural Land, published by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, concludes that preferential assessment of agricultural land, intended to preserve farmland and restrict urban sprawl, has been expensive and not very effective.  Reforms and alternatives are suggested.

Assessing the Theory and Practice of Land Value Taxation is a Policy Focus Report prepared by economists Richard F Dye and Richard W England for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. They conclude that the policy is theoretically sound, but there are practical difficulties measuring the benefit.  Quoting an earlier study, they conclude that “land-value taxation provides city officials with a tax instrument that generates revenues but has no damaging side effects on the urban economy. In this way, it allows the city to avoid reliance on other taxes that can undermine
urban development.”

$5.3 Trillion Rent of the USA presents economists Mason Gaffney (University of California) and Nicolaus Tideman (Virginia Tech) describing the potential of land value taxation as a replacement for all other existing taxes, and the expected benefits thereof.  (video — 8 minutes)

In The Hidden Taxable Capacity of Land, Mason Gaffney provides  “more comprehensive and accurate measures of land rents and values” than are available from earlier sources, as well as “several modes of raising revenues from them besides the conventional property tax.”

Economist Fred Foldvary describes the advantages of LVT over other kinds of taxes in The Ultimate Tax Reform(pdf).

Political scientist Bill Batt applies the traditional criteria to LVT, showing  The Fallacy of the Three-Legged Stool Metaphor in evaluating tax policy.

In comparison with calculation of other taxes, assessment of land value is not difficult. Wyn Achenbaum has assembled some of the clearest writing on the subject.  Perhaps the best book on this topic dates from 1970, and is not yet posted on the internet though it can be purchased inexpensively.

Noah Smith on Piketty’s three big mistakes: “if we really want to counter the inequality that Piketty warns about, we will probably need tools like the land value tax.”