Economics

What Does the Future Hold for the Automobile?

1024px-Nissan_LEAF_got_thirsty_trimmed.jpg

For a generation, the car has been reviled by city planners, greens and not too few commuters. In the past decade, some boldly predicted the onset of “peak car” and an auto-free future which would be dominated by new developments built around transit.  read more »

Progressive Cities: Home of the Worst Housing Inequality

20060929184646!SF_Bay_area_USGS.jpg

America's most highly regulated housing markets are also reliably the most progressive in their political attitudes. Yet in terms of gaining an opportunity to own a house, the price impacts of the tough regulation mean profound inequality for the most disadvantaged large ethnicities, African-Americans and Hispanics.  read more »

Garden Grove: The Other Kind of Incremental Urbanism

screen-shot-2017-09-29-at-9-52-17-am.jpg

This is the historic Main Street in Garden Grove, California. Back in 1874 land was platted in small twenty five foot wide lots and sold off with minimal infrastructure. Individuals built modest pragmatic structures with funds pulled largely from the household budget, extended family, and short term debt. This was long before the thirty year mortgage, government loan guaranties, mortgage interest tax deductions, zoning regulations, subsidies, economic development grants, or the codes we have today.  read more »

Too Many Rust Belt Leaders Have Stockholm Syndrome

1024px-Youngstown,_Ohio_Central_Square_West_Federal_Street.jpg

One of the criticisms leveled at Richard Florida is that many of the Rust Belt cities that tried to cater to the creative class ended up wasting their money on worthless programs.

What this illustrates instead is that leaders in the Rust Belt have taken the contours of the current economy as a given, and attempted to find a way to adapt their community to that.  read more »

Where America's Highest Earners Live

Fairfax County Housing2.JPG

The mainstream media commonly assumes that affluent Americans like to cluster in the dense cores of cities. This impression has been heightened by some eye-catching recent announcements by big companies of plans to move their headquarters from the ‘burbs to big cities, like General Electric to Boston and McDonald’s to Chicago.  read more »

How Much Value Do Economists Assign to Having Married Parents Who Aren’t on Drugs?

moms-house-1024x768.jpg

Yesterday I posted my new column from the September issue of Governing magazine in which I write:

"There are a number of people in the national media who make the argument that things aren’t so bad, that if you look at the numbers this idea that things are horrible in much of America just isn’t true. It’s easy for me to believe this is actually the case in a quantitative sense. But man does not live by bread alone. When you have an iPhone but your community is disintegrating socially, it’s not hard to see why people think things have taken a turn for the worse."

 read more »

Africa: 800 Million Jobs Needed

Luanda_feb09_ost06.jpg

African economies are in a race to get ahead of the demographic boom.

While some people in the United States are sweating the presence, against the backdrop of a demographically stagnant white population, of the 11 million undocumented immigrants or of the 30+ million other foreign-born residents, there are far bigger numbers brewing in other parts of the world, indeed numbers that are so large that they could affect decades from now the life of an American citizen far more than the rare determined Mexican or Guatemalan who manages henceforth to scale President Trump’s purportedly impenetrable border wall.  read more »

Trouble in Trump County, USA

092916_RAopioid_THUMB_LARGE.jpg

By rights, Scott County, a rural Indiana community of 24,000, should be flourishing. It’s in a pro-business state. It’s part of the large, successful 1.2 million-person Louisville, Kentucky, metro area that’s been growing total jobs (75,300, or 12.9 percent) and manufacturing positions (19,600, or 31.6 percent) in the last five years. Scott County is an easy half-hour commute from downtown Louisville.  read more »

Update on Median Household Incomes: 2016

census report.PNG

Just released Survey of Current Population (CPS) indicates that median household income in the United States was $59,039 in 2016 (Note). This is four percent above the 2002 level, when the ethnic surveying system was adopted. This article provides data for each of the metropolitan areas (more than 1,000,000 population), including the overall median, and figures for the largest ethnicities (White Non-Hispanic, African-American, Asian, and Hispanic. The ethnicity of households is determined by "householder," (formerly called "head of household").  read more »

Back Office Decentralization

charles-schwab.jpg

In my “superstar effect” series I’ve been presenting examples of where superstars (whether individuals or cities) are generating a disproportionate share of the rewards these days.

I mentioned that I had some counter-examples and wanted to share one today. Namely that backoffice decentralization, or the move of less-than-superstar functions out of superstar cities, has benefitted a certain class of places like Denver and Salt Lake City.  read more »