The Bartlett School of Planning


Andrew Purves

Research subject

All wealth comes from work on land: as societies develop, control of land and land rents offer the basis for power and the distribution of that wealth. How can we ensure an equitable distribution of wealth, while at the same time promote economic efficiency and sustainable growth?

Primary supervisor: Professor Nick Gallent
Secondary supervisor: Dr Josh Ryan-Collins
Starting date: January 2019
Projected completion date: January 2021

Land value taxation is generally acknowledged to be the most efficient and equitable means to raise public revenue, but is largely ignored due to the political difficulty of implementation given the embodied power of landowners. To overcome this resistance, can we find a jurisdiction which embraces land value as the natural source of public revenue? Singapore may offer such a place. Since independence in 1965, the government has bought land, and offered it back for lease by individuals and companies. Personal taxation is low, and enterprise is encouraged. I aim to demonstrate how this works in practice to promote economic growth and equity, and to trace how this system developed, and whether it has an ideological root.



Brought up in Hong Kong, Tokyo, New York, Edinburgh, now settled in London. First degree in Modern History and Politics.


I have worked in the retail of high end contemporary furniture for the last 30 years, establishing my own business: Purves & Purves, in 1992.


I have a special interest in the concept of Economic Rent, how it arises and is captured by landowners, teaching Economics at the School of Economic Science in London. I wrote a book about Hong Kong’s Economic Miracle (No Debt, High Growth, Low Tax 2015) and completed a Masters in Spatial Planning in 2018.

Publications and other work
  • Purves A, 2015 No Debt High Growth Low Tax- Hong Kong’s Economic Miracle Explained Shepheard Walwyn, London
  • Purves A, 2019 Models of Fair Public Ownership: lessons from Singapore and Hong Kong Int. J. Public Policy, Vol.15, Nos.1/2 pp.59-75.


Conference papers/presentations

  • 2018 Institute of New Economic Thinking, Trentino Italy – Part of the Festival of Economics. Presented Models of Fair Public Ownership
  • 2018 Association of Heterodox Economics Annual Conference, Leicester University. Presented Models of Fair Public Ownership



  • School of Philosophy and Economic Science, Economics with Justice course, 2006 - present
  • PGTA, UCL, various modules at Undergraduate level, and Masters programmes