Must-read: Noah Smith: “Your Landlord Is a Drag on Growth”

Must-Read: Noah Smith: Your Landlord Is a Drag on Growth: “After many decades of essentially ignoring the role of land…

…economists are starting to reconsider. Some are worried that landlords are hurting growth by making it too expensive to live in highly productive cities. Now, some are starting to think about how land figures in the rise in inequality. The basic idea is that landlords use their local political power to stack the deck…. That unpleasant narrative might now be playing out in the U.S. Jason Furman, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers…. According to Furman, some of the change may be due to more zoning. Since the late 1970s, land-use regulation has skyrocketed in the U.S….

The new spotlight on zoning is causing even traditional proponents of government intervention to call for regulatory reform. Paul Krugman… “[T]his is an issue on which you don’t have to be a conservative to believe that we have too much regulation. … New York City can’t do much if anything about soaring inequality of incomes, but it could do a lot to increase the supply of housing, and thereby ensure that the inward migration of the elite doesn’t drive out everyone else.”… [But] existing landlords have lots of power in local politics, while potential landlords and tenants, because they are still living elsewhere, have zero…

February 21, 2016


Brad DeLong
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