The Gated City

The Gated City (2011) by Ryan Avent is another Kindle Single that is, in part, a reply to The Great Stagnation. Avent is an economist who has decided that the big limiting factor for growth is zoning and the restrictions on new construction due to planning laws.
Avent believes that instead of moving to the places where economic output is greatest because housing prices are so high that economic growth is being impaired. The thesis is an enormous stretch. While a lack of housing construction, due in some degree to zoning laws, does really drive up prices it’s hard to blame the reduction in economic growth over the past few decades on this fact.
It would also do Avent well to look at other countries where housing costs are higher than the US, the zoning laws more restrictive but that had travelled a different path to the US. Avent also glosses over the fact that elecommunication has made more remote places far more able to contribute to high growth.
Nonetheless the book has quite a lot of interesting information in it. The comparison of prices and wages data is interesting.


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