A recent piece in The Washington Post illuminates an often overlooked obstacle to economic mobility:
In recent years, and especially over the last few months, economists and other public policy experts across the political spectrum have come to realize that zoning rules are a major obstacle to affordable housing and economic opportunity for the poor and lower middle class. By artificially restricting new construction, zoning and other similar land-use restrictions greatly increase the price of housing, and prevents the market from adjusting to increasing demand. This emerging consensus is a good sign, though it may be difficult to translate it into effective policy initiatives.
The growing left-wing critique of zoning is particularly significant because the most liberal cities also tend to be ones with the most restrictive zoning laws, and the highest housing costs. In earlier posts on this subject, I have argued that this tendency is probably the result of voters’ ignorance of the effects of zoning, rather than callous indifference to the needs of the poor. Nonetheless, it would be good if more politically influential liberals become aware of the problem, and began advocate measures to curb zoning.
The whole piece is worth reading. Check it out.