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This Blessed Plot: When should Capital Gains on Land be regarded as Income?

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37–53
Number of pages17
Issue number1
Early online date7 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jan 2019


King's Authors


National balance sheets for a number of advanced economies show land to be a valuable form of natural capital, whose value has increased sharply over the last twenty years or so. This paper investigates when or whether capital gains on land should be counted as a component of income. While development projects can lead to increases in rental rates and land values, it is shown that, while the benefits any project should be counted as income, increases in rental rates and land values should not normally be seen as additional real income. However if land benefits from exogenous land-saving technical progress the resulting capital gains can be seen as income. Applying the same principle to human capital it is shown, on a steady growth path, that these capital gains are equal to Weitzman's (1997) growth premium in the relationship between income and sustainable consumption.

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