Tuesday, September 02, 2014

No Innovation Without Migration

It's migration, stupid, at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Innovation geography.

Subject Article: "Sure it's Pseudoscience if You Don't Read It Right: Jacobs, Knowledge, and Urban Growth."

Other Links: 1. "Exodus to the burbs: why diehard downtowners are giving up on the city."
2. "The Pseudoscience of Jane Jacobs and Innovation Districts."
3. "Poverty and Geography: The Myth of Racial Segregation."
4. "How Migration Makes the World Brainier."

Postscript: The more I spar with others over policy, the more I appreciate doctoral training. Generally, most people master one school of thought and go from there. In a quest for a Ph.D., one must master the debate between schools of thought. Debates I've had over housing affordability illustrate this. There's the Edward Glaeser school (rational research) and there's the Not Edward Glaeser school (irrational ranting). Within the Edward Glaeser school, we have debates over the quality of the models and how well they measure empirical reality. That's what you see when you read the literature review section of the peer reviewed academic publication. That's because the stated aspiration of such research is very limited in scope. Can we prove that land-use restrictions drive up real estate prices? That's a very modest goal that gets way overstated in the realm of policy. Establishing the connection between land-use restrictions and real estate prices isn't, in and of itself, a compelling reason to upzone an urban area and increase residential (or commercial) density. We have competing schools of thought that actually evaluate the efficacy of policies designed to make real estate more affordable. First step in policy evaluation: identify the controversy and each side's supporting research. There isn't a debate about whether or not deregulation can drive down housing costs.

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