After years of subpar growth, California is reaping the advantages of a fortuitous economic alignment of ultralow interest rates, high stock values and growing investments in high-end residential real estate. Vast sums are pouring into the state for new tech ventures, speculative hotel and residential developments. Low borrowing rates allow the state to keep pace with its massive debts, while buoyant stocks help the massive government pension plans, which invest in the market.
The past thirty years have seen a dramatic decline in the rate of income convergence across states and in population flows to wealthy places. These changes coincide with (1) an increase in housing prices in productive areas, (2) a divergence in the skill-specific returns to living in those places, and (3) a redirection of unskilled migration away from productive places. . . Income convergence continues in less-regulated places, while it has mostly stopped in places with more regulation.
Kolko’s theory isn’t an outlier. There is a deep literature tying liberal residents to illiberal housing policies that create affordability crunches for the middle class. In 2010, UCLA economist Matthew Kahn published a study of California cities, which found that liberal metros issued fewer new housing permits. The correlation held over time: As California cities became more liberal, he said, they built fewer homes.
Preliminary estimates suggest that minimum wage increases are associated with no net changes in government benefit receipt in the pre-Great Recession Era. While minimum wage increases may aid some working families in leaving the welfare rolls, adverse labor demand effects may increase government benefits received by others.
We explore a number of reasons for the declines in geographic and labor market transitions, and find the strongest support for explanations related to a decrease in the net benefit to changing employers. Our preferred interpretation is that the distribution of relevant outside offers has shifted in a way that has made labor market transitions, and thus geographic transitions, less desirable to workers.
The Truth About Green Jobs and California, A Review of the Costs, Risks and Trade-offs of Green Job Policies
Many within the media, academia and the economic development communities have expressed enormous enthusiasm about the prospects for green jobs as a result of strong environmental legislation. Indeed, many claim that increased environmental regulation is a key to a newfound prosperity. In this paper, we try to sort these claims out and separate the truth from the hype.