Zoning Out

“Arguably,” writes economist Edward Glaeser, land use controls have a more widespread impact on the lives of ordinary Americans than any other regulation. These controls, typically imposed by localities, make housing more expensive and restrict the growth of America’s most successful metropolitan areas. These regulations have accreted over time with virtually no cost-benefit analysis. Restricting … Read more

The Emerging Consensus on Zoning

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 … Read more

The DR Book Collection: Catch-Up #4

This is part of the DR Book Collection. I’m once again behind on my book reviews, so here’s a list of the books I’ve read recently, their descriptions, and accompanying videos. Jon D. Levenson, The Love of God: Divine Gift, Human Gratitude, and Mutual Faithfulness in Judaism (Princeton University Press, 2016): “The love of God … Read more

Myths About the 1 Percent

Gallup’s Jonathan Rothwell has provided some important insights about inequality in the U.S., from zoning laws to a lack of competition among the elites. In a recent New York Times piece, he lays out the evidence against certain myths regarding the 1% in a succinct fashion. Here are some “common misconceptions” about income inequality: Trade: … Read more

Land-Use Restrictions and the Economy

A brand new NBER working paper confirms what past evidence has shown: land-use restrictions tend to have negative effects on the economy. The researchers conclude, Historically, U.S. economic growth has gone hand-in-hand with the regional reallocation of labor and capital. The pace of resource reallocation, however, has slowed considerably. This decline has roughly coincided with … Read more

Houston, Hurricanes, and History

Economic and policy historian Phillip Magness has an enlightening post on Houston’s Harvey situation: Older generations remember earlier storms and hurricanes that produced similar effects going back decades, although you have to return to December 6-9, 1935 to find an example that compares to Harvey’s stats. Houston was a much smaller city in 1935, both … Read more

Politics and Populism Make Us Stupid

Political ignorance is a topic I’ve been reading up on as of late. It’s a tad depressing, if not all that surprising. A brand new Brookings paper builds off this research to argue the following: Always empirically questionable at best, the populist-progressive idea that more participation will reliably improve either the products or the popularity … Read more

Geography and Unemployment

Does geography contribute to unemployment? “In a paper published in 1965,” reports The Economist, John Kain, an economist at Harvard University, proposed what came to be known as the “spatial-mismatch hypothesis”. Kain had noticed that while the unemployment rate in America as a whole was below 5%, it was 40% in many black, inner-city communities. … Read more