Congestion taxes can make society worse off

July 21, 2016

A new paper by Jeffrey Brinkman in the Journal of Urban Economics (working version here) analyzes two phenomena that are pervasive in urban economics—congestion costs and agglomeration economies. What’s interesting about this paper is that it formalizes the tradeoff that exists between the two. As stated in the abstract: “Congestion costs in urban areas are […]

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Recessions Don’t Have The Same Impact On Every City

July 19, 2016

Here is a link to my latest piece on Forbes.com New research shows that some local economies avoid slumps during national recessions and that an educated population and flexible housing supply can help. Recessions Don’t Have The Same Impact On Every City  

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Pokémon Go Represents the Best of Capitalism

July 14, 2016

An article uploaded to Vox.com by Timothy Lee earlier this week, “Pokémon Go is everything that is wrong with late capitalism,”has caused quite a stir, since it was fairly critical of the “Pokémon Go economy.” Given the popularity of the game though (and our concern that some players would be alarmed that their lighthearted entertainment was […]

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Does the New Markets Tax Credit Program work?

June 29, 2016

Location-based programs that provide tax credits to firms and investors that locate in particular areas are popular among politicians of both parties. Democrats tend to support them because they are meant to revitalize poorer or rural areas. In a recent speech about the economy, presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton spoke favorably about two of them: the […]

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Washington’s Legitimacy Crisis Presents an Opportunity for the States

June 28, 2016

You’ve heard it before. Americans are deeply unhappy with Washington, DC. Sixty-five percent say the country is on the wrong track. Confidence in institutions is near all-time lows. Congress’s approval rating is terrible, and the two major presidential candidates are viewed more negatively than any other mainstream presidential candidates in recent memory. Only nineteen percent of the public trust the government to do the right […]

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Does Tax Increment Financing (TIF) generate economic development?

June 20, 2016

Tax increment financing, or TIF, is a method of financing economic development projects first used in California in 1952. Since then, 48 other states have enacted TIF legislation with Arizona being the lone holdout. It was originally conceived as a method for combating urban blight, but over time it has become the go-to tool for […]

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Washington DC is set to become the latest city to make it illegal for low-skill people to work

June 8, 2016

In the latest example of politics trumping economics, Washington DC’s city council voted to increase the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020. The economic arguments against a minimum wage are well-known to most people so I won’t rehash them here, but if you want to read more about why the minimum wage […]

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Northern Cities Need To Be Bold If They Want To Grow

May 11, 2016

Geography and climate have played a significant role in U.S. population growth since 1970 (see here, here, here, and here). The figure below shows the correlation between county-level natural amenities and county population growth from 1970 – 2013 controlling for other factors including the population of the county in 1970, the average wage of the […]

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Baltimore’s misguided move to raise its minimum wage will harm its most vulnerable

April 22, 2016

Baltimore’s city council, like others around the country, is considering raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. This is an ill-advised move that will make it harder for young people and the least skilled to find employment, which is already a difficult task in Baltimore. The figure below shows the age 16 – […]

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States with lower minimum wages will feel the impact of California’s experiment

April 8, 2016

California governor Jerry Brown recently signed a law raising California’s minimum wage to $15/hour by 2022. This ill-advised increase in the minimum wage will banish the least productive workers of California – teens, the less educated, the elderly – from the labor market. It will be especially destructive in the poorer areas of California that […]

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