News and Commentary
Some in the Washington area are calling for rent freezes or subsidies to deal with the economic crisis following measures to curtail the pandemic. The D.C. Council has passed emergency relief for renters, but there are still many concerns of renters getting evicted due to the ongoing economic disruption. For now, D.C. Superior Court has issued a suspension of evictions until May. Hopefully measures can be taken that do not limit access to the housing market in the future while also helping workers weather this storm and keep affording their bills.
The Progressive Pulse Blog laments that North Carolina’s housing shortage will likely be exacerbated by the pandemic as layoffs increase and threatens to make more people homeless. Good policy can go a long way to building resilience for a crisis, but unfortunately housing regulation takes time to change and for developers to respond to. For now, the best option is probably keeping individuals stable with cash and UI while suspending evictions.
A new working paper from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston closely follows labor demand over the past five decades alongside population density. Among other findings, it suggests that the decentralization of manufacturing employment from inner cities would not last as that sector’s employment sharply fell in rural regions starting in the 90’s. The 00’s in particular would see a stop to a long trend of suburbanization in very dense cities. This might suggest it’s important to view density not just as a housing issue, but as a labor market issue too.
A new NBER paper takes a look at urbanization and urban politics, including the discontents following the end of urban wage premiums for less skilled workers in developed countries. The author turns to cities in the developing world and emphasizes how the public sector lags the private sector’s draw in such cities. They conclude that insiders across various levels of national wealth can play an influential role in urban governments seeking regulation changes in commuting, business, school access, and construction.