Economics

Population Shifting in the Midwest

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My latest post is online at City Journal. I actually wrote it prior to the Indy op-ed I just put up, but for scheduling reasons they came out in the reverse order. This contains some of the background information against which that op-ed was written. It’s about the resorting of population that’s occurring within US states in the Midwest. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

LSE Economist Paul Cheshire on Urban Containment and Housing Affordability

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Paul Cheshire, Professor Emeritus of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics, has distinguished himself as one of the world’s pre-eminent housing economists. This article discusses his recent interview with Ahir Hites, a senior research officer in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Research Department, reported in The Unassuming Economist Global Housing Watch Newslettter.  read more »

In Defense of Houses

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A critical component in the rise of market-oriented democracy in the modern era has been the dispersion of property ownership among middle-income households—not just in the United States but also in countries like Holland, Canada, and Australia, where it was closely linked with greater civil and economic freedom. In its early days, this dispersion was largely rural, but after the Second World War, it took on a largely suburban emphasis in the U.S., including within the extended metro regions of traditional cities like New York and Los Angeles.  read more »

The Great Conservative Suicide Pact

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Republicans have been celebrating their good fortune as Democrats vying for the presidential nomination propose free medical care for undocumented people and the elimination of private health insurance, and open borders, not to mention reparations for slavery and the near-term elimination of fossil fuels. Add it up, and it may be enough to keep Doctor Demento in the White House for four more years.  read more »

The Dangerous Rise Of The Woke Corporation

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It would be comforting if Nike’s decision to ditch its “Betsy Ross” flag sneakers at the behest of former NFL quarterback and social justice warrior Colin Kaepernick was exceptional, but, sadly, it is not. Increasingly, many of our most powerful companies eagerly kowtow to the purveyors of political correctness — such as those who compared the revolutionary banner to the Nazi swastika flag or that of the Confederacy.  read more »

Why Can’t It Be Like That Now? Remembering What We Had and Could Have Again

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‘But why can’t work be like that now?’ my colleague Julia asked when I told her about my research into the former Guinness brewery at Park Road in West London. After working on the project for the best part of a decade and a half, it’s sometimes difficult to sum up quickly. Over that time, I’ve looked at thousands of photographs, scores of staff magazines, and hundreds of documents, and I’ve talked to dozens of workers. But Julia’s question cut straight to the heart of the book.  read more »

Relief for the Weary: New Premium Bus Lines vie for Short-Hop Flyers

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During a summer vacation season marked by long security lines and record-setting air traffic, it is easy to overlook a trend in U.S. ground travel that is winning converts from those who would otherwise fly: the rapid expansion of bus lines offering first- and business-class service on short-hop routes.  read more »

High Performing Midwest Cities Need to Learn How to Attract National Talent

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My latest column is online in the Indianapolis Business Journal. Obviously it’s about Indianapolis, but similar arguments apply to basically every other basically well-performing Midwest city. They are completely parochial talent sheds and need to attract from further afield. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

California Can’t Afford To Be An Economic One-Trick Pony

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For the past decade, the soaring stock prices and nosebleed valuations of Silicon Valley’s IPOs and unicorns has been a boon for California, helping create a record budget surplus of almost $22 billion.

Yet this bonanza has occurred just as the state’s overall job creation, once among the country’s leaders, has slowed to a more middle of the road status, well below the rates for key competitors such as Nevada, Arizona, Washington State and Texas.  read more »

The Stockton Sandwich

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I just spent a few days in Stockton, California visiting old family friends. They’re a recently retired Lutheran pastor and his wife who relocated from Southern California and returned to their hometown. Being lifelong members of the church has many benefits, but making lots of money isn’t one of them. They run a lean operation and found a modest three bedroom two bath fixer upper for $195,000 and proceeded to do almost all the renovation work themselves.  read more »