Economics

Hollywood's Self-Inflicted Wounds

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No industry is more identified with Southern California than entertainment. Yet, in the past, the industry’s appeal has lain in identifying with the always-changing values and mythos of American society. But, today, that connection is being undermined, not just by technology, but also by a seemingly self-conscious decision to sever the industry’s links with roughly half of the population.  read more »

Big Box Jesus

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One of my cousins recently attended an event at a suburban church and I tagged along. I’m amoral and omnivorous. I’ll go to any house of worship on the odd chance I might actually learn something useful – and I often do. And I meet a lot of really nice people along the way. But mostly I like to explore the landscapes other people inhabit. Church provides an intimate glimpse into what people are thinking and feeling in a particular location.  read more »

The Cities Creating the Most Tech Jobs in 2017

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A growing tech industry is often considered the ultimate sign of a healthy local economy. By that measure, the Bay Area still stands at the top of the heap in the United States, but our survey of the metropolitan areas with the strongest tech job growth turns up some surprising places not usually thought of as tech meccas.  read more »

Small Colleges and Small Towns Working Together for Their Futures

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My latest column in the March 2017 issue of Governing magazine is about how small liberal arts schools are partnering to try to help the small towns where they are located succeed. In this they are imitating big cities, where major institutions have often played a key role in driving revitalization efforts, often in part out of self-interest. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

Subjects:

Fractions within the Working Class

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This has been a rough year.  After the election, I reposted a few articles on my Facebook wall, as did so many of my friends, about the “working-class vote.”  Did the white working-class just elect Trump?  read more »

Common Sense on Immigration

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No issue divides the United States more than immigration. Many Americans are resentful of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, worry about their own job security, and fear the arrival of more refugees from Islamic countries could pose the greatest terrorist threat.  read more »

Detroit's Recovery? Oh Yeah, It's Real Alright

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So it seems the debate has begun.  There's been enough progress in Detroit to discuss whether its rebound is for real, or not.

Two academics, Laura Reese of Michigan State University and Gary Sands of Wayne State University, wrote a piece for the Atlantic a couple weeks ago to counter the spreading narrative of Detroit's comeback.  The article notes the Motor City's rebound has caught the attention of the national media and parts of academia, but they aren't so certain that the trend is real, or if it is, whether it's indeed sustainable.  read more »

The Economics of Dependency

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This article first appeared at Foreign Affairs.

How countries hit the demographic sweet spot.

Demographics are among the most important influences on a country’s overall economic performance, but compared with other contributors, such as the quality of governance or institutions, their impact is underappreciated.  read more »

Is L.A. Back? Don't Buy the Hype.

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With two football teams moving to Los Angeles, a host of towers rising in a resurgent downtown and an upcoming IPO for L.A.'s signature start-up, Snapchat parent Snap Inc., one can make a credible case that the city that defined growth for a half century is back. According to Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Rams, Chargers and the new mega-stadium that will house them in neighboring Inglewood, show that “that this is a town that nobody can afford to pass up.”  read more »

Automation, Artificial Intelligence, and Projectile Wooden Shoes

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Sabotage has its root in the French word sabot, which is a kind of wooden shoe. In the early days of the Industrial Revolution craftsmen would throw their shoes into the gears of factory machines. Skilled labor was being replaced with mechanical production, undermining traditional professions, reducing incomes, and removing the social standing of workers. Wealth flowed up to the people who owned the factories and controlled the levers of political power. Sabotage was a form of negotiation.  read more »