This article can be found in the current issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Urban Economics.
Housing demolition and property tax delinquency: Evidence from Detroit, by Camila Alvayay Torrejón, Dusan Paredes & Mark Skidmore
The purpose of this article is to evaluate the degree to which the demolition of low-quality structures affects property tax compliance in Detroit. During the real estate crisis, the rate of property tax delinquency in the city exceeded 50%. The demolition of dilapidated structures could lead to improvements in tax compliance in two ways. The first is through an amenity effect: removal of blighted structures improves the neighborhood and thus may increase the likelihood that neighbors pay their property taxes. The second is via the existence of a peer effect in property tax compliance decisions. We use a 6-year panel database to examine the degree to which demolitions affect nearby residential property tax delinquency. Even though we are unable to disentangle the amenity and peer effects, our analysis shows that when a dilapidated property is demolished, tax delinquency within the neighborhood is reduced, providing evidence that demolitions improve tax compliance.