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The Economics Of Eyesores

John H. Cumberland and Leon Taylor ()
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John H. Cumberland: University of Maryland

The Review of Regional Studies, 1994, vol. 24, issue 2, 161-176

Abstract: Few economic analyses exist of aesthetics regulation, an important tool for land-use planning. This paper uses simple geometry to calculate the Pareto-efficient height of an eyesore as well as its efficient distance from areas frequented by viewers. The paper provides a formula for a two-part Pigouvian tax to control eyesores as well as guidelines for its calculation. A tax is often more likely than conventional zoning instruments to enhance efficiency in the control of smoke plumes, signs, high-rises, and towers. As a more politically attractive alternative to the full compensation that eyesore laws mandate today, the paper recommends lump-sum compensation.

Date: 1994
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