The Public Regulation of Land-Use Decisions: Criteria for Evaluating Alternative Procedures


  • We thank Professors Elizabeth Burch, Dino Falaschetti, Wayne Logan, Greg Mitchell, Uma Outka, and Manuel Utset for their comments on earlier drafts of this article. We also thank the many officials who helped us develop the survey we used for this project, as well as the individuals who helped us distribute the survey. In addition, we received useful feedback on a preliminary version of the article at the International Research Workshop on the Regulatory State, held at Bar-Ilan University, Israel, and supported by the Israeli Science Foundation. We are grateful to Hillary Copeland, FSU College of Law '10, for her terrific research assistance.

Tom Tyler, Department of Psychology, New York University, 6 Washington Pl., Rm. 552, New York, NY 10003; email: Tyler is Professor, Department of Psychology, New York University; Markell is Steven M. Goldstein Professor of Law, Florida State University College of Law.


In this article we argue for an empirical governance approach—the use of public evaluations—as one basis for deciding whether and how to regulate decisions with public consequences. We propose a conceptual framework for evaluating public acceptability, notably that public judgments should be evaluated against five criteria: overall acceptability ex ante; robustness; consensus; procedurality; and their ranking on nonfairness issues such as cost and convenience. In the article we also move beyond theory to implementation by modeling our framework to evaluate public judgments concerning acceptability in the contentious area of land-use decisions in Florida.