News and Commentary
For Planetizen, Todd Litman writes about the debate as it relates to the housing supply and how to evaluate evidence presented by those coming from different perspectives on the debate. He contrasts three groups (free-market advocates, housing experts, and supply skeptics), finding that the first rely too much on the single-family homeownership definition of affordability while the third rely too much on anecdotal evidence and ignore the more comprehensive housing policy reforms available to improve affordability through urban density.
In The Atlantic, Michael Manville discusses an oft-overlooked land-use regulation–parking requirements–that dramatically increase the costs of land via an aggressive subsidy to drivers.
For Brookings, Jenny Schuetz writes about the promise and pitfalls of different rent-relief programs. Effective rent-relief programs worked with local institutions and nonprofits, while ineffective ones created barriers that either required landlord cooperation or the time and energy necessary to navigate bureaucracy. Also important to consider is the need for a long-term social safety net and housing supply reform.
Also for Brookings, Adie Tomer, Joseph W. Kane, Jenny Schuetz, and Caroline George write about the importance of land-use reform in combatting climate change. While the shift to EVs and other cleaner forms of energy production is all well and good, there’s no substitute for denser urban living arrangements and eliminating the regulations which prohibit their construction.
Writing for Reasion, Christian Britschgi examines the case of local NIMBY activists blocking a new development project for a nonprofit biomedical research group which cannot effectively conduct its research in the current, ’30s-era facility. Among their litany of asinine objections to a worthy project was the fact that the development was 334 feet tall–well above the city’s 75-foot heigh limit. This was ironic as protestors demanding access to the sun’s rays protested in the shade.
A new paper from Simeon Djankov, Edward L. Glaeser, Valeria Perotti, and Andrei Shleifer discuss how the security or insecurity of property rights and and institutions influence investment and efficiency, confirming a Demsetizian understanding of the role of property rights.
An NBER paper authored by Stephen J. Redding examines the causes of large-scale suburbanization from the 1970s-2010s. Examining workplace attractiveness, residence attractiveness, and bilateral commuting frictions, he finds that the attractiveness of residences and workplaces plays a greater role in explaining shifts toward lower density.