The Tiebout Model at Fifty: Essays in Public Economics in Honor of Wallace Oates, William A. Fischel, ed., (forthcoming, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2006)


The Tiebout hypothesis transformed the scholarly understanding of local government by casting citizens as consumers who "vote with their feet" for preferred communities within a metropolitan area. The idea that citizens shop for governmental bundles of services and amenities, just as they might shop for other products, is now a familiar element in local government discourse. But the contributions of Tiebout's ideas to land use policy have been limited by an insufficient specification of the products that the consumer-voters select with their feet. This chapter, prepared for a forthcoming edited volume, examines a key element that drives the choices of Tiebout's consumer-voters - exclusion.

Exclusionary land use controls attract some consumer-voters even as they repel other consumer-voters. To understand why and how exclusion matters to the Tiebout hypothesis, it is necessary to parse both sides of the jurisdictional choice equation: the reasons that exclusion is such an attractive part of the bundles selected through residential choice and the limits on residential choice that result from such exclusion. Land use controls have, of course, received significant attention from scholars working within Tiebout's framework. However, the literature lacks a synthesized account of the way that the various strains of exclusion factor into the consumer-voter's shopping experience and fit together to inform and qualify the Tiebout model's contributions to the law of land use. This chapter takes up that task.


Law and Economics

Date of this Version

May 2006