Discussion paper

DP11146 Game of zones: The political economy of conservation areas

We develop and test a simple theory of the conservation area designation process in which we postulate that the level of designation is chosen to comply with interests of local homeowners. Conservation areas provide benefits to local homeowners by reducing uncertainty regarding the future of their area. At the same time, the restrictions impose a cost by limiting the degree to which properties can be altered. In line with our model predictions we find that an increase in preferences for historic character by the local pop-ulation increases the likelihood of a designation, and that new designations at the margin are not associat-ed with significant house price capitalisation effects.


Ahlfeldt, G, S Waights and N Wendland (2016), ‘DP11146 Game of zones: The political economy of conservation areas‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 11146. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp11146