Land value taxation: some issues

Sam MacArthur is a fourth year undergraduate economics student at the University of Strathclyde and had a summer internship in the Fraser of Allander Institute supported by the Carnegie Trust. This blog summarises some of Sam’s research from last summer into some of the issues around land value tax.


The Scottish Government recently released their Programme for Government 2017-2018, ‘A Nation with Ambition’, which reiterated their commitment to land reform.

Consequently, the newly formed Scottish Land Commission have been tasked –among other things- with carrying out and commissioning research into “a range of radical options for further land reform in Scotland, including the potential for a land value tax”.

In recent years, calls for a land value tax (LVT) have moved into the mainstream of political debate in Scotland, driven by perceived criticisms of the current system of local taxation, the Council Tax. One concern with fundamentally reforming the existing system is a concern about the potential impact of this change on different household types across Scotland. The lack of detailed analysis on this point is hindering fuller debate.

This blog reports on some work I undertook while completing a Carnegie Vacation Scholarship at the Fraser of Allander Institute this summer. It begins by briefly reviewing some conceptual issues in implementing local taxation, before moving to consider how (in principal) we might produce some estimates of land values.

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