Archive for March, 2009

Suburban Slums, again

Related to the last post, this, from the Wall Street Journal: Now, as the housing bust and recession has turned the exurbs from engines of growth to economic laggards, many of these families have the worst of both worlds. They are still on the fringes but have no equity. In many cases the amenities they […]

Housing in Washington

Matt Twitters to wonder why I didn’t blog the Post’s annual housing review, which offers ZIP code level detail for home sales and prices in the metropolitan area. I didn’t know it was out! But his analysis strikes me as pretty much on point: Alejandro Lazo writes about the decline in home prices in the […]

Inflation: Bring It On

Ezra refers to a good post by James Hamilton on how recent Fed actions — specifically, growing its balance sheet and changing its composition in historically unusual ways — could compromise its ability to fight inflation. He writes: If you feel like scaring yourself a bit this afternoon, read James Hamilton’s post arguing that the […]

Another Stimulus Idea

Ed Glaeser ponders an interesting question today — why are so many half-complete projects in Manhattan stalled? New York is one of the tightest housing markets in the country, because it’s very difficult to get big projects approved in the city thanks to regulatory restrictions and NIMBYIsm. This tightness generates higher real estate values, and […]

The End is Here

If you look at a chart of industrial production through the early 1930s, you see that at several times during the long road to the bottom of the Depression production leveled off or picked up, seeming to point to recovery. Now, it’s possible that those upward ticks would actually have led to recovery, had the […]

Note to Economic Writers Everywhere

It is not correct to say that home prices are falling or continue to fall and link to today’s Case-Shiller index as evidence. Today’s Case-Shiller data release is for the month of January. Those of you with calendars at the ready will note that tomorrow is the first day of April. That is, today’s figures […]

Where Did Willem Buiter Learn That Word?

The LSE prof slash blogger writes: I’m not convinced of the environmental benefits of the cash-for-clunkers scheme.  I would be a major beneficiary of the scheme should the UK decide to introduce one.  I drive an 18-year old hooptie that has bits falling off all the time (it’s easy to stick them back on, however, […]

Land Use

One of the funny things about the District is that it only recently became the heart of a very big city. For this reason, neighborhoods in Washington change over very rapidly from mixed-use high rises, to single-family attached housing, to suburban style detached homes on big yards. In the space of two miles you go […]

Speaking of Redundancies

Andrew Smith at the Seattle Transit Blog has an interesting post that compares BART and Metro — the two largest postwar heavy rail transit systems. He first quotes one Christof Spieler, who writes: San Francisco is in the 5th largest metropolitan area in the country. Washington DC is in the 4th largest. Both cities have […]

Pro Procyclical

You know, there are plenty of redundancies in government employment (just as there are in private employment). Ideally, in boom times, governments would trim those redundancies. Employing unnecessary workers is more costly in a boom, since the private sector is at or near full employment, and it’s less costly to employees to be laid off […]