Implementation analysis of transfer of development rights for conserving privately owned built heritage in Hong Kong: A transactions costs perspective

Jun Hou, Dazhi Gu, Sina Shahab, Edwin Hon wan Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Transfer of development rights (TDR) programs are introduced as an alternative institutional innovation to the traditional regulatory instruments for land development. They meet the demand for development and conservation while balancing the conflicts between public and private interests with minimal use of public funds. Most TDR literature is about nature conservation and there is little focus on the complicated process and diverse stakeholders’ interests of urban land use in dealing with built heritage conservation. Previous studies show that the success of TDR programs depends on various elements, especially policy design and implementation approaches. The design and implementation of TDR programs involves transaction costs that can reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of these programs. This paper aims at developing a framework for analyzing TDR programs. This proposed framework not only takes transactions costs into account, but also provides a basis for decision makers to decipher the process of informal TDR. Using Hong Kong as a case study, three TDR implementation modes are selected to examine how different informal institutional arrangements have resulted in specific transaction costs in practice and hindered TDR projects. Our findings, which are informed by transactions costs economics, provide practical insights in order to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of TDR programs, particularly in informal contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)530-550
Number of pages21
JournalGrowth and Change
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change

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