David McAdams, an economics professor at Duke University, has authored a paper entitled “The Economics of On-Premise Signs” in conjunction with the United States Sign Council. In it, he contrasts the philosophies and ramifications of sign codes in Henrietta and Brighton, New York — two communities with similar demographics, both of which are near Rochester, NY. Henrietta’s sign code will allow up to 80 square feet of signage, while Brighton limits it to 30 square feet.
In the paper, McAdams assesses the Strategic Rationale, which suggests that, if one company benefits from a larger sign, other businesses will suffer. This has also been referenced as a “zero net gain.” McAdams counters, however, that better signs will encourage other businesses to acquire better signs, which will create more business for everyone, and benefit the town in the form of higher tax revenue.
An overview of the McAdams paper can be read at http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/STMG/sott_201512/index.php#/92. The full study is available from the United States Sign Council website, http://www.ussc.org/USSC-publications.php