Pressures on the housing market in the face of restrictions

Philip Booth responds to The Times article on economics on house building on the green belt

Sir, Alice Miles suggests that economists are wrong to treat land like other markets because land is a finite resource.Land is not special in that respect. All resources are finite and, in fact, economics is the science of how to allocate scarce resources between competing usess.There are important questions that need serious consideration. Should we take account of the market information, reflected in price signals, that indicates how valuable land would be if it were used for housing? And should people be freer to respond to those price signals?To dismiss economics as if it has nothing to contribute to resolving these issues is seriously mistaken .

Professor Philip Booth is Editorial Director of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

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