What Are the Determinants of Open-Space Ballot Measures? An Extension of the Research


Objective. This article comments on the findings of Romero and Liserio's "Saving Open Spaces." Their primary claim is that open-space ballots are not related in any way to actual land-use patterns. Methods. First, I present a number of methodological problems with their approach and demonstrate a sample selection bias using their original data. Second, I present some alternate models using data from 350 municipalities in the greater Philadelphia area. Results. I demonstrate that the sample selection bias in Romero and Liserio's model is so acute that all their parameter estimates are jointly zero. With other data, I find that sprawl votes are related to land-use patterns using a number of different measures. Conclusions. I conclude that open-space votes are related to land-use patterns and that this may be explained as a rational response to sprawl by community planning bureaucracies.

Publication Title

Social Science Quarterly