The future shape of America is being driven not by quality of life or economic success but by the obscure rules regulating local land use. In a sense, the anti-regulation crowd is right that the laissez-faire attitude of the South and West explains their recent growth. But the usual argument focuses on the wrong regulations. Housing regulations, more than those that bind standard businesses, explain the Sun Belt’s population growth. If New York and Massachusetts want to stop losing Congressional seats, then they must revisit the rules that make it so difficult to build.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Harvard economist Ed Glaeser in the New York Times, via Greg Mankiw: