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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A $15 minimum wage will excessively harm California’s poorest counties

March 30, 2016

Lawmakers in California are thinking about increasing the state minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022. If it occurs it will be the latest in a series of increases in the minimum wage across the country, both at the city and state level. Increases in the minimum wage make it difficult for low-skill workers to find […]

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Exit, voice, and loyalty in cities

March 18, 2016

Economist Albert Hirschman’s 1970 book Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States presents a theory of how consumers express their dissatisfaction to firms and other organizations after a decline in product or service quality. In terms of interjurisdictional competition exit is demonstrated by migration: dissatisfied residents migrate to a community […]

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Where’s the growth?

March 1, 2016

In a famous Wendy’s commercial from 1984, three elderly women are examining a hamburger with a rather large bun when one of them asks “Where’s the beef?” in order to express her disappointment that the burger is all bun and no meat. When it comes to the economy growth is like the beef of a […]

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Economic freedom matters at the local level too

February 18, 2016

Since 1996 the Fraser Institute has published an annual economic freedom of the world index that ranks countries according to their level of economic freedom. They also publish an economic freedom of North America Index that ranks the US states, Canadian provinces, and Mexican provinces using similar data. Both of these studies have been used […]

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Ignoring the adverse effects of the minimum wage may cost taxpayers billions

February 4, 2016

Today the Obama administration issued a statement calling for a ‘First Job’ funding initiative to connect young Americans with jobs. The statement laments how difficult it is for young people to find employment and emphasizes how important a first jobs is for future career success: “After the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes, the United […]

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Properly funding a defined benefit plan requires solid average returns and some luck

February 2, 2016

Saving for retirement is something most workers do – either on their own or through an employer – and most are aware that the rate of return on their retirement investment matters. For example, if I save $100 today and it earns 10% per year in interest for the next 20 years I will have […]

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City population dynamics since 1850

January 26, 2016

The reason why some cities grow and some cities shrink is a heavily debated topic in economics, sociology, urban planning, and public administration. In truth, there is no single reason why a city declines. Often exogenous factors – new modes of transportation, increased globalization, institutional changes, and federal policies – initiate the decline while subsequent […]

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