Submissions Accepted for Presentation at the World Bank Land Conference 2024

The conference agenda provides an overview and details of sessions. In order to view sessions on a specific day or for a certain room, please select an appropriate date or room link. You may also select a session to explore available abstracts and download papers and presentations.

Session Overview
01-04: Challenges of urban planning
Tuesday, 14/May/2024:
4:00pm - 6:00pm

Session Chair: Stephane Straub, World Bank, United States of America
Location: MC 13-121

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Evaluating urban planning: evidence from Dar es Salaam

Tanner Regan1, Guy Michaels2, Vernon Henderson2, Martina Manara3, Francisco Libano-Monteiro2

1George Washington University, United States of America; 2LSE; 3University of Sheffield

Greenfield urban planning is a key policy to help meet housing demand in rapidly growing African cities. This paper studies the consequences of the planned layout (size and configuration of residential and non-residential plots) of Tanzania's "20,000 plot" project, which provided over 36,000 residential plots on the fringes of Dar es Salaam in the early 2000s. We apply within-neighborhood analysis and spatial regression discontinuity designs to new data from questionnaires and satellite imagery. We find that small plots, which command higher land values and are built more intensively, are under-provided; smaller plots owners value homogeneity in plot size; grid structured layouts of blocks are valued as is access to major paved roads; and public service provision lags the plans. About half the plots are still unbuilt; yet the areas nevertheless attract highly educated owners. Findings suggest improvements to planning are possible despite large overall gains in land value.


Government–directed urban growth, firm entry, and industrial land prices in Chinese cities

Jan Brueckner1, Wenhua Liu2, Wei Xiao2, Junfu Zhang3

1University of California-Irvine, USA; 2Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, China; 3Clark University, USA

We examine the effect of a large-scale administrative reorganization in China, where counties are annexed into cities to accommodate urban growth. We present a simple model to illustrate how this annexation may affect firm entry decisions and in turn land market outcomes. Using nationwide data on land-lease transactions, we find that annexation raises industrial land prices in the annexed counties by 7 percent but does not reduce land prices in neighboring counties and central cities. We show that the annexed counties experienced increases in firm entry and investment, offering a plausible mechanism for the effect on industrial land prices.


What we do in the shadows: how urban density facilitates information diffusion

Qing Zhang1, Evan Kresch2

1Google, Inc; 2Oberlin College, United States of America

Does urban density facilitate the diffusion of information? This paper exploits plausibly exogenous variation generated by a unique national policy in China that requires all residential buildings to receive sufficient hours of sunshine. The policy creates higher degrees of restriction on density at higher latitudes, where longer shadows require buildings to be further apart. Data on individual housing projects across China reveal that the cross-latitude variation can be described quite well by a formula linking structure density to latitude through the solar elevation angle. Using differential topic dynamics on a national petition platform to measure information diffusion, this paper shows that people respond to shifts in government attention with varying speeds across latitudes. These responses are systematically faster in southern cities, where density is higher. Survey evidence further indicates that otherwise similar individuals are more likely to gossip about public issues in a southern city.


Anti-Corruption Campaign and the Resurgence of the SOEs in China: Evidence from the Real Estate Sector*

Hanming Fang1, Jing Wu2, Rongjie Zhang2, Li-an Zhou3

1Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, and the NBER; 2Department of Construction Management and Hang Lung Center for Real Estate, Tsinghua University, China, People's Republic of; 3Guanghua School of Management, Peking University, China, People's Republic of

We advance a novel hypothesis that China’s recent anti-corruption campaign may have contributed to the resurgence of the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in China as an unintended consequence. We present supporting evidence from the Chinese real estate sector, which is notorious for pervasive rentseeking and corruption. We use a unique data set of land parcel transactions merged with firm-level registration information and a difference-in-differences empirical design to show that, relative to the industrial land parcels which serve as the control, the fraction of residential land parcels purchased by SOEs increased significantly relative to that purchased by private developers after the anticorruption campaign. We interpret the findings through both theoretical model and empirical analysis where we show, since selling land to private developers carries the stereotype that the city official may have received bribes, even the “clean” local officials will become more willing to award land to SOEs.


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