Land Value Taxation in theory and practice

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

A bunch of short videos illustrating LVT  concepts are at landtaxermemes.

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

Journalist Martin Wolf (of the Financial Times) says The case for a land value tax is overwhelming.

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)

A reform similar to the Pennsylvania approach– taxing improvements at a lower percentage of value than land) — has been proposed for Detroit.

Jeff Smith reports on 28 places (and groups of places) where land value tax has been helpful.

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.”

Strong Towns says “You Get What You Tax For: How a Land Value Tax Can Help Us Build Prosperous Places.”

$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.  Assessor Ted Gwartney explains how to do it.   An older but more comprehensive and still relevant book is The Assessment of Land Value.

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