Archive for July, 2008

Big Pushes

Mark Thoma highlights new research on southern development, which seeks to explain catch-up growth there as an example of Big Push theory. Big Push theory is described thusly: [P]ublicly coordinated investment can break the underdevelopment trap by helping economies overcome deficiencies in private incentives that prevent firms from adopting modern production techniques and achieving scale […]

Bills to Pay the Bills

Streetsblog has the scoop on Earl Blumenauer’s Transportation and Housing Choices for Gas Price Relief Act. It’s chock full of great stuff. For instance, I like: • Help transit agencies cope with rising fuel prices and increasing demand by providing federal funds for fare subsidies, service improvements, fuel purchases, and technology assistance. • Make it […]

Section 8

Since I’ve been writing about HUD programs, let me recommend this Prospect piece. In it, Greg Anrig and Harold Pollack take apart an Atlantic piece by Hanna Rosin (itself based on research by Richard Janikowski and Phyllis Betts) which claimed that Section 8 families in a Memphis relocation program were responsible for increasing crime rates […]


There was an interesting post at VoxEU the other day that got discussed at Free Exchange, but not here. The author, Lutz Killian, examined the market for gasoline in America to try and figure out why prices had increased. The answer, in a nutshell, was that crude oil price increases were the biggest factor, and […]

Getting It

Hey, Daniel Gross gets things (mainly) right in a piece at Slate documenting the fact that roads enjoy massive government subsidies. Naturally, his commenters say but the gas tax, so it would have been nice if Gross had mentioned that the gas tax doesn’t come close to covering road expenditures. But if folks can get […]

Who, Who, Who, Who

Today is extraordinarily busy for me, and posting will be irregular. Or nonexistent. So let’s try something else, shall we? I’ve been fortunate in the past year or so to have gained a lot of new readers. Welcome, new readers! It’s good to have you. I’m interested in knowing more about you. Readers new and […]

As Luck Would Have It

David Brooks says that the reason America was the 20th century’s big economic power was, “a ferocious belief that people have the power to transform their own lives gave Americans an unparalleled commitment to education, hard work and economic freedom.” Ezra Klein says, duh, we also didn’t get attacked multiple times between 1900 and 1945. […]

More HUD

At Freakonomics Steven Levitt writes on his colleague Sudhir Venkatesh’s column advocating the end of HUD. In doing so he notes: The first obvious (but important) point about housing is that there is an active market for rental housing. So it seems like a situation where it makes sense for government involvement to come in […]


Dudes, it just earthquaked here. Weirdest feeling ever. Profoundly discomfiting to a committed easterner.

Fat City

MSNBC notices that older neighborhoods are walkable and also happen to be home to more fit people than the burbs. Now it’s no doubt true that living in a walkable place and walking a lot is likely to make you healthier, but it’s important to point out that the causation clearly goes the other way, […]