The Path of the Law: An Econometric Analysis of Ontario Municipal Board Decisions on Land Severance Appeals
The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) is a provincial land use planning and development appeal board. The powers of the board are vast in comparison to other land appeal boards in Canada. One of the most frequent appeals that the OMB adjudicates emerges from disputes between municipalities and landowners (or other members of the public) regarding the severance of land. In this thesis I empirically examine factors that influence OMB decisions. More specifically, I model the decision of an OMB adjudicator to affirm, or overturn, the decision of the municipality with regards to severance appeals. The explanatory variables include characterizations of the adjudicator – e.g., professional background, gender, experience, etc. – as well as characterizations of the OMB hearing – e.g., the number of participants (public and professional), etc. The empirical analysis allows for a better understanding of theoretical issues in the law-economic literature concerning judicial utility functions and the extent to which judges take into consideration their public and peer reputation (Posner, 1993).