An excerpt from co-editor Fred Foldvary’s Progress Report:
In theory, productive public goods increase land rent because the supply of land is fixed. There can also be a rise in wages from more public goods, but that would be temporary. If labor becomes more productive in a location, that attracts labor from areas where wages are lower for the same skills. The increase in the labor supply will drive wages back down to normal. But the total supply of land in some region cannot expand, so the increase in rent sticks.
Just as territorial benefits raise land values, costs to landowners reduce the rent they keep, and so capitalize land value down. If the public goods are paid for by public revenue from land rent or site values, then the rise in land values would be limited. If governmental public goods are paid by labor and enterprise, then the rentalization and capitalization are implicit subsidies to landowners, at the expense of taxed labor and enterprise.
Economists have found evidence of the generation of higher land values from greater public goods. We now have an excellent case study: North Dakota.
Read the whole thing here. I’ve never been to North Dakota, but if it’s anything like South Dakota I might be tempted to settle there someday. Just kidding! California is the best state to live in, even with our terrible, fascistic-like government.
I am still having trouble wrapping my head around the concept of land value taxing, though. Someday I’m going to have to spend a couple of days with a copy of Henry George’s Progress and Poverty and see what I can figure out.