Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Government Dept.


Carrie LeVan

Second Advisor

Nicholas Jacobs


This thesis examines the role played by city-level governments in determining the availability of housing within their locale. I propose an overarching hypothesis that features of government which provide greater opportunity for the public to influence their local governments will lead to a decreased availability of housing. This hypothesis is tested over the course of two chapters. First, through an analysis of cities throughout California, the effect of different structural features of government are tested against several dependent variables which measure housing availability in a series of linear regressions. A statistically significant positive correlation is found between the presence of term limits for elected officials, and a city’s vacancy rate. While no other hypotheses are confirmed to the degree of statistical significance, several trend in the hypothesized direction, suggesting a need for further research with a larger sample size. Second, the effect of recent efforts by the state of California to coerce cities into increasing housing construction is examined qualitatively. I find that enforcement of these laws will likely induce greater housing availability statewide.


Housing, California, Local Government, Term Limits, Federalism, City Council