If you fear NIMBY, should you favor more immigration?

Many of today’s capitalists also want more immigration.  Ocasio-Cortez also supports more immigration, which is confusing.  According to Ricardo’s economic theory, expanding the population in the current environment will increase the cost of housing, health care, and higher education, just as it increased the price of wheat in the 19th century.  This would hurt workers.

That is from Ronald W. Dworkin, “The New Rentiers: Ricardo Redux,” in the March/April 2019 issue of The American Interest, not yet on-line.

In general, facing up to the policy implications of a strict NIMBY world is something few wish to do.  For instance, it seems to me that increases in the minimum wage, even if they initially went along Card-Krueger lines, would end up being passed along as greater benefits to landlords.  All sorts of other attempts at amelioration could backfire as well.

Or do we live in some kind of intermediate NIMBY world on the coasts, where you get to complain about the land restrictions, but don’t have to live with the policy implications of strict NIMBY?  Maybe so!  But if so, I would like to see this argued for at more length.

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"increases in the minimum wage, even if they initially went along Card-Krueger lines, would end up being passed along as greater benefits to landlords. "

I'm unsure why this follows. It implies that any wage increases must be passed along as greater benefits to landlords. That leads to some absurd conclusions.

It follows because in the new world of limited housing, wages are the primary limit on rent, especially at the bottom of the housing market. So any slack in workers' budgets can be taken.up by increased rent. Raising min wage creates slack for landlords to consume.

I've thought about this before, but its the first time I've seen anyone else mention it

Yes, the only place jobs can be created are in Blue State densely populated large cities.

It is impossible to bbuild transportation to vacant land, build schools and public utilities serving vacant land so cheap housing can be built because that would destroy wealth!

The 50s and 60s were a period of socialism which destroyed wealth of landlords charging high rents for small living spaces. Millions of people bought houses that were larger and bought cars for less than they paid in rents. The wealth of landlords was destroyed. Their property became almost worgthless and turned into slums.

Capitalists have blocked building transportation and building new towns and cities in the US where new businesssess and factories get built like in the 50s and 60s, thus eliminating competition with existing capital, ensuring capital pricees go soaring up. Creating wealth.

Unfortunately, socialism has built lots of transportation and lots of new cities filled with new factories in China creating lots of competition to factories in the US. Blue State big cities switched its factories to offices for tech workers, but the Red States have simply closed the big factories, shutdown the small towns. Only by cutting the quantity of capital can capital scarcity drive up capital prices and create wealth.

Landlords can sometimes raise rents on popular restaurants and stores in locations with limited retail space so that some of the businesses' profits end up going to the landlord instead of the business owners. The situation with limited housing seems similar.

What happened to the idea that raising the minimum wage would result in lower wages in aggregate? Has Tyler suddenly flipped his position on this?

More immigration = Make America third world.

It's called supply and demand...

yes, that is exactly how it works. from the perspective of an Iowan, in sf for 15 years, fwtw

A lot of NIMBYs have children who later move away because they can't afford to live near their family. Even without immigration, just native population growth and net migration from other states is enough to push the cost of housing up. The obvious solution is build, build, build. But why don't we do special economic zones like China did with Shenzhen? Find a few states that want economic growth and put a special tax rate on it.

NIMBY is basically taking the idea of property rights to the next level and taken to an extreme will usher in an age of neo-feudalism. They think in zero-sum terms and never at all about growing the pie, raising the tide, or whatever is your preferred metaphor. They don't think like an entrepreneur. They fear change. What's the solution here? A dose of Henry George?

A negative position on immigration is just a part of NIMBYism. NIMBYs are primarily opposed to any development in their neighborhood that might conceivably compromise their life experience or, even worse, prevent the price of their property from increasing dramatically. At the same time, NIMBYs don't bother to send checks to entities that manage to create a situation where the value of their property increases.

'would end up being passed along as greater benefits to landlords'

Come now, aren't those landlords supposed to build more housing so as to grow the market and their profits?

I believe their are book authors who make the argument that growth is the justification for the rich getting richer - one assumes you are familiar with them.

'but don’t have to live with the policy implications of strict NIMBY'

Which is why so many of those with deep concerns about how NIMBY ruins their appreciation of life live in West Virginia, right? Great Falls or Middleburg have all sorts of restrictions on one's 100 million dollar mansion in comparison to Charles Town, WV.

A century ago, capitalists built private light rail to vacant land they developed and sold, then they abandoned the light rail once they had sold the majority of their land, forcing government to hike taxes to build better transportation to serve the people who bought the houses.

Post WWII, there were Levittowns built wthout regard to public services off the new highways built in the 20s and 30s, which then forced tax hikes to upgrade rural roads to handle urban road traffic, as well as funding all the other public services these new voters and taxpayers demanded.

In NH, its clear governments and voters have learned lessons from these past actions by housing developers. NH has tax laws and land regulations the allow immigration just as Trump calls for. Wealthy high skilled professionals able to afford large expensive houses, who move to a limited number of wealthy towns if they have kids. But they then send their kids to colleges and universities outside NH where high taxes make tuition lower than in NH even for out-of-state students.

Some businesses move to NH, but if thry need working class workers, they locate near border states with higher taxes which make working class housing cheaper than NH. NH attracts wealthy high income workers in border states who do not pay taxes on capital income, but pay income taxes to the states they work in to boost the job opportunities in those border states.

But even this places burdens on NH that voters object to. The highways and transportation into border states are under stress, and the only fix requires hiking taxes or expanding toll collection and raising tolls. Democrats hiked gas taxes to speed up highway projects to relieve interstate congestion, but the GOP reversed those hikes to slow fixing the interstate congestion. However, NH depends a lot on tourism for tax revenue, so the gas tax cuts increase the congestion and costs to tourists.

NH had a boom when Mass hiked taxes on "the rich" and corporations, but Mass reformed taxes, hiking taxes on workers, lowering taxes on businesses while providing more of what businesses need, skilled workers at all levels. That reversed the moving of businesses to NH, so NH has difficulty attracting employers of working classes.

And NH, until a century ago, had land developers building railroads into NH to sell and rent housing to people in the Northeast. Then government built a lot of highways into the same areas and more, but that ended for the most part by thee 70s. What investment in roads has occurred since has been done long after the congestion has indicated investment is desperately needed. For those who argue the private sector will solve problems better, NH demonstrates the private sector lacks innovation or willingness to take risk.

And when it comes to building transportation infrastructure, the blocking of Northern Pass powerline suggests an Elon Musk proposing to build a private tunnel to move cars at high speed under congestioned roads would find lots of opposition.

So, is there an abbreviation along the lines of 'NIMCS?'

'would end up being passed along as greater benefits to landlords'

Come now, aren't those landlords supposed to build more housing so as to grow the market and their profits?

I believe their are book authors who make the argument that growth is the justification for the rich getting richer - one assumes you are familiar with them.

'but don’t have to live with the policy implications of strict NIMBY'

Which is why so many of those with deep concerns about how NIMBY ruins their appreciation of life live in West Virginia, right? Great Falls or Middleburg have all sorts of restrictions on one's 100 million dollar mansion in comparison to Charles Town, WV.

And to think enough time had been taken to handle the lag that occasionally occurs here.

And in light of how often the comment section has been overrun by obviously fake/bot comments, one reasonably assumes that at some point, an improved system will be used.

Some policies are bipartisan:

These include the warfare state, NIMBYism and lack of immigration enforcement, which makes it tougher to be poor.

Other bipartisan policies include paying to much for drugs and healthcare, which also makes it suck more than needed to be poor.

While restrictive zoning might not be optimal, the undoing of such restrictive zoning has a tendency to be case by case. This is a terrible breach of contract, similar as the inflation event when gold went from $20 to $35, but more like death by a 1000 cuts. There are ways of allowing increased density without causing winners and losers, for example a formulaic upzoning, or a Dutch auction bidding for upzoning, where the affected neighbors get compensated. These win-win solutions don't seem to be interesting to activists.

However, the optimal solution to the housing problem is to build new cities in low population density areas, as all the retrofitting of infrastructure is much more expensive than needed. There must exist some tax incentives that will attract sufficient number of employers and workers that the city grows enough that it becomes attractive without the incentives. Also, as many cities follow Detroit in losing population, the productive people can't all move to Texas and Florida.

Awfully big, Texas.

Largest 20 US cities by population include #4 Houston, #7 San Antonio, #9 Dallas, #11 Austin, #16 Fort Worth, #20 El Paso.

Fort Worth is about the same size as San Francisco, and bigger than Seattle, Denver, or Boston.

https://www.moving.com/tips/the-top-10-largest-us-cities-by-population/

Remember, cities have arbitrary and archaic borders. That's why MSAs were invented:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_metropolitan_statistical_areas

Texas has 2 in the top 10.

Eventually the east half of Texas will be one big metropolis.

gracias,
que nada

Here is a nice 3d map of where job growth is going:

https://blogs.voanews.com/all-about-america/2016/03/09/this-map-shows-where-us-job-market-is-booming/

It looks to be more momentum and cumulative advantage than new cities. For example, Huston has been doing oil and petrochemicals for 100 years now, and that base attracts lots of related industry over time.

There's an Overton window for levels of immigration, and AOC is at the higher end. It's an ideological position, but also a valid economic one: zero immigration is undesirable; unrestricted immigration is undesirable; existing US citizens are not fecund enough to replace retiring workers.

Picking a point within that Overton window is about finding a balance that serves both the interest of the country and the values it holds -- and then trying to get the three branches of government to compromise long enough for legislation to survive.

It's also quite an intangible position. The impact of a change in the level of immigration will take sometime to make itself shown (culturally or economically), it will be mixed up with every other thing that has changed over the same time period, the impact good or bad will be borne by different people to those that voted for it etc.

So none of these considerations are a big part of any policy position. It's more about supporting immigration & appearing nice, or bearing the opprobrium of not appearing nice in return for the possible votes of people who might decide that they will suffer negative consequences.

None of this is very honest.

People like AOC want more immigration because it increases the political power of people of color and decreases the power of white people. It really is that simple.

Immigrants could be from other countries with white majorities but their home countries all voted for welfare states so moving to the USA would be a step down. To compete we must embiggen the welfare. See AOC, ironically, would be good for people like you who prefer immigrants with a lighter skin tone. Also do you mind if these newly arrived whites have more socialist tendencies? They might want to remove guns, make college education free, have the state pay for child services, and raise your taxes. Imagine white people unlike you decreasing the power of white people like you.

Western Europeans certainly don't think moving to the USA would be a step down in their welfare because of the lack of a higher level of tax funded welfare. Mostly we just think it's difficult to do, for the outcome of living in another developed country with a slightly higher standard of living and absolute maximums of technology and education.

'for the outcome of living in another developed country with a slightly higher standard of living and absolute maximums of technology and education'

Every single German I know in this region who is under 30 and who has spent at least 6 months in the U.S. (more than a half dozen at this point) disagree with every single one of your points - they do not think Americans have a higher standard of living, they do not think the U.S. has a higher level of technology, and they find American education, at least as reflected by the Americans they dealt with personally and professionally, to be deficient.

This leaves aside the whole health care aspect, the perception of personal safety in a society drowning itself in firearms as a solution to firearm violence, the lack of free time, and what several considered decent quality food - mainly along the lines of good bread and acceptable quality fresh produce.

On the other hand, one of those Germans (who I have known since her birth) who also spent 9 months in Australia would definitely pick Australia over the U.S., while not considering Australia to be more advanced than the U.S. (And this leaves aside the incredible hurdles of American paperwork involving an American internship - including multiple consulate visits and apparently having to pay $900 to some sort of private agency as an official requirement to get a 6 month visa for an internship - still don't honestly understand that - I think the term she used was a J visa, with some info here - https://j1visa.state.gov/programs/intern/.)

Maybe your experience is genuinely different. Probably be a good point to find out if it's representative is to cross check immigration data for Germany->USA against USA->Germany.

I expect there to be more migration from Germany->USA than vice versa, and the higher levels of consumption and income in US society to be the significant draw (https://randomcriticalanalysis.com/2017/04/28/health-consumption-and-household-disposable-income-outside-of-the-oecd/). The US's higher levels of income mobility, occupational mobility and education mobility than Germany (at least per OECD's report) probably also helps - http://www.oecd.org/social/broken-elevator-how-to-promote-social-mobility-9789264301085-en.htm.

Your anecdotal circle of credulous Claas Relotius believers and their bigotries may be one thing, hard data of people voting with their feet is another.

Germany *may* be a bit of an exception on tech (I suspect it depends on the sector), but the United States is certainly more prominent than Western Europe as a whole in technological innovation (https://www.citylab.com/life/2011/10/worlds-leading-nations-innovation-and-technology/224/). There's general agreement as well that the *heights* of US tertiary education are the heights of world education, beyond that of many Western European countries.

'I expect there to be more migration from Germany->USA than vice versa'

Absolutely - Mercedes, BMW, VW, Siemens, etc. all send a significant number of Germans to the U.S., for example. Further, considering the fairly close ties between the American military in Germany and Germans over a couple of generations, you will find that your migration data will not include a significant number of dual citizens.

'and the higher levels of consumption and income in US society to be the significant draw'

The lack of vacation time and the screwed up health care system are big negatives, though. (Admittedly, if you are a Mercedes employee in Alabama, the plant doctor is available, which is nice to get a prescription or have a minor health problem looked at during the work day.)

'the *heights* of US tertiary education are the heights of world education'

The top is always the top, however Heidelberg does not seem to consider itself as less than a world class institution. On the other hand, though the Univ. of Alabama is not really a top institution, the German I know doing their master's in mechanical engineering, who has been told in one class that they are doing PhD level work, has remarked that much of the course work was already covered in his KIT undergraduate classes.

The U.S. used to have a much better image in Germany a quarter of a century ago than it is does today, which is why I talked about under 30 year olds.

People don't move from develop country to developed country too often. Moving to another country is hugely disruptive. People only do it when the payoff is big.

Immigrants from the US to:
Belgium: 10,000
Canada: 310,000
Denmark: 10,000
France: 50,000
Norway: 20,000
Sweden: 20,000
UK: 190,000

Immigrants to the US from:
Belgium: 40,000
Canada: 890,000
Denmark: 30,000
France: 180,000
Norway: 30,000
Sweden: 50,000
UK: 750,000

https://twitter.com/wwwojtekk/status/1032622005978365953

But let me guess, on other days you "don't see color."

(You other guys accept this in silence and then erupt in surprise and indignation when anyone calls Trumpian populism what it is, a white nationalist movement.)

Hi mouse!

You are still singing Samba de uma nota so. One of my faves.

Try getting around your bigotry and imagine people not wanting to see their neighborhoods torn up, the trees cut down, or their kids in schools crowded with kids that don't speak English.

It's about culture - as a few recent posts by our host have indicated.

Think Putnam, "Bowling Alone", and the loss of social capital.

And, of course, the cultural elites who want to impose greater levels of immigration on the test of us, will suffer few negative consequences. They will have cheaper employees, cheaper domestic servants, and their kids will go to private, or defacto private, schools. Tgwur neighborhoods will be protected by high real estate prices and exclusive zoning. For them it's all good. We are not stupid bigots, no matter how convenient that characterization is for you.

So one guy said "because it increases the political power of people of color and decreases the power of white people" and you think it is "bigotry" to *oppose* that guy.

What did I say yesterday about words losing their meaning and "beliefs" (no matter how absurd) being exchanged as membership signals?

There it is, to oppose white nationalism, *that* is the real "bigotry" to the modern right.

Here is what he said:
"People like AOC want more immigration because it increases the political power of people of color and decreases the power of white people. It really is that simple."

It is impossible to know what AOC is thinking - he cannot read minds. That said, many political pundits have discussed at great length the strategy of the Democrats to build a coalition of people of color and immigrants. In fact, those two groups do vote for Democrats by a large margin.

It is not racist, nor is it evidence of white nationalism, to point out that obvious fact.

I detest white nationalism and white nationalists.

So there, I did it. I denounced white nationalism.

I think it is the strategy of the DNC to flood the country with immigrants from the third world in order to cement their power.

Those are facts. I am sorry if you don't like those facts.

Georgism is the obvious answer but it's too capitalistic for the socialists. They'd rather have things like public housing, rent control, and more government than just have a single tax and let markets take care of the rest.

Maybe Americans should care about the root of America's problems: Red China.

This is an imposter! Bolsonaro has promised to rid Brasil of such deceit. It is a sorry state to not see similar courage in Trump’s America.

NYMBY has a cure, people eventually dies. More restrictions mean a selected age cohort stays in the high value zone and they will die around the same time.

Real estate is a long term game. The impatient should gamble or start a business.

What dies is memory of a time where decisions of where to live were driven by the desire for security. Low crime neighborhoods had certain characteristics. Anything that would change or potentially change the neighborhood away from that would be vigorously opposed.

When old people die young people buy their homes. People who buy nice home in the burbs tend not to like high density towers of Babel built next door. Call it human nature.

It's always a pleasure to agree with Cowen (it shows I'm smart about a few things). I attended college, and had a small child (I won't add to the list but you get the idea), before NIMBY (a metaphor for any goodies conferred by government, including student loans and subsidized child care as well as restrictive zoning), and I can assure you that the intended beneficiaries of the NIMBYs did not receive the bulk of the benefit. Indeed, if I were a young student and parent today with all the NIMBYs since adopted, I could not afford college, child care, or the apartment in which we lived. Thank you very much.

Read Kevin Erdmann. Property zoning and other rules have suffocated housing production where it is needed.

But no one is an atheist in a fox hole, or a libertarian when neighborhood property zoning is under review.

The US cnnot build housing and cannot build infrastructure. So where to put all the immigrants?

Worse, I would not say there are solid libertarian solutions to pollution, or a nation's inability to build infrastructure. If property ownership rights are sacred (but not development rights) then rule out much new housing too.

We can make a more-crowded, more-polluted, nation of aging but expensive housing and crumbling infrastructure---indeed that seems to be the game plan.

Good luck with that.

Now, toss long-term declining take-home wages into the mix...AOC in the White House?

Maybe....

"Now, toss long-term declining take-home wages into the mix...AOC in the White House?"

Funny thing, all those poor third world immigrants drive down the wages of less educated or lower income natives. Those natives can vote.

There will be blood.

Clearly, AOC has a conflict. She opposes Amazon because it will gentrify and increase costs in an area. Yet she wants to increase the population that will also place increased demands and costs in an area. Her solution seems to be increased government regulation to control prices and allocate resources. Where has that worked?

Venezuela? Or it would have worked if Trump and the CIA didn't conspire to destroy the generous socialist state of the people.

According to Ricardo’s economic theory, expanding the population in the current environment will increase the cost of housing, health care, and higher education, just as it increased the price of wheat in the 19th century. This would hurt workers.

I doubt it. Why wouldn't some of that population increase find work in agriculture, housing, health care, teaching,?

What percentage of the labor force works in housing? Why wouldn't that same percentage of the new immigrants do the same. Based on casual observation I'd say an awful lot of immigrants work in housing-related jobs.

You can't possibly be that dumb.

The new, poor, eneducated, English-deficient immigrants compete with lower socienomic status locals - including previous immigrants - for those jobs.

Very few - about 5% - mmigrants works in agriculture, btw. Most work in construction, landscaping, domestic services, hospitality, truck driving, etc. These are all jobs non-college bound high school graduates used to take as entry level opportunities. Not anymore. Why hire a high school kid to wash dishes for a few months when you can hire an illegal alien from Honduras who will do the job for three years.

You don't get out much, do you?

You're a moron.

First, my comment addressed the price for various goods and services, and suggested that the greater supply of construction workers, among other things, means that housing prices will not necessarily rise. Dworkin seems to assume that immigration will not produce any supply increase. That can't be right.

You should get out less, and spend more time learning basic economics. Then you wouldn't make a fool of yourself in public.

The cost of labor has little impact on the cost of housing in the areas with good job opportunities. The real problem is the cost of developable land. Housing is not expensive in SF or Silicon Valley because Carpenters get paid too much.

Basic economics is uselessness - it has no predictive power. Economists are fooled by randomness. That said, a position as a tenured professor of economics is great gig if you can get it. If economics was a science there would be unchallenged agreement between economists on basic principles - there isn't. In contrast, mathematicians and physicists agree on basic principles - there are no fisticuffs over the convergence of Fourier integrals.

I don't care if I look stupid. You economists and other useless elites already think I and people like me are stupid. I'm here to fight, and give you a taste of what's coming if you don't use your unearned and undeserved infkuence to fix things.

If you can't, then get the hell out of the way.

Trump wants more border walls, but NIMBYs create their own virtual walls that keep immigrants out (along with forcing out some minority groups and low-income people). There's no room for you here! San Francisco might as well have its own border controls, bring a couple of million bucks or you're only a tourist. It's not progressive, it's reactionary.

San Francisco being expensive is totally different from restricting immigration into the whole country. San Francisco is like a niche high-end restaurant that lower-income people can’t afford. Whereas restricting immigration in the whole country is like a huge restaurant chain simply refusing to serve Mexicans.

No San Francisco allocates residency by income or a willingness to live on the streets. Thus they avoid at least some of the cost of new immigrants. No new taxes to pay for the social services that they consume, no schools for new poorer entrants, etc The new immigrants are not taking tech jobs but they often provide service jobs at low costs (even if they live where they have to share beds in shifts). The larger society bears the burden while enclaves like San Francisco wash their hands of the negative consequences. You might vote to raise the minimum wage but that just bids up the cost of the mattress without really making a net difference in living standards. (Except it can also lead to more automation or increased productivity from these workers by using more labor-saving devices - good for some, unlucky for others.)

More like letting the poor cook your meals and clean your toilets as long as they don't try to use the front door to eat in the dining room. The poor souls just can't afford it, such a shame.

A huge number of immigrants work in construction, health, and higher education too though. These workers should increase supply and therefore lower costs. The overall impact is ambiguous in theory.

It’s also not confusing why someone who generally supports lower housing prices would not support every possible policy to lower housing prices. People often have competing priorities and balance them against each other.

The only people that want lower housing prices are those that don't have one. Should they get one, then they too want higher home prices.

There is nothing confusing about capitalists supporting immigration. Maybe Dworkin or AOC should read The Jungle.

There is a finite bound in density. The binding constraint is human activity. At some point the human will eat from the taco truck if it generates a baseball field, humans like to throw stuff. At that point the inventory gain from curvature is gone, you are at maximum density, the tree trunk is not getting rounder.

"NIMBY" has strayed so far from its original definition that only the mood affiliation remains.

No, NIMBY means the same thing that it always has: "Now that I'm here, this city/metro area is big enough, and needs to stop growing and stop letting new people in."

The logical conclusion of this belief, which I assume is only awaiting some NIMBYs daring enough to actually introduce it as legislation, is for metro areas to put up their own border fences and require permission to move there or have children there.

I suppose their utopia would be the world of Jerry Pournelle's The Mercenary in which the poor majority are fenced out of civilization and into welfare reservations, where nobody cares what happens to them.

"Ocasio-Cortez also supports more immigration, which is confusing. ... This would hurt workers." - stuff that hurts workers is good for political parties that purport defending them, the parties will get more votes. The connection just needs to be hidden enough.

"Or do we live in some kind of intermediate NIMBY world on the coasts, where you get to complain about the land restrictions, but don’t have to live with the policy implications of strict NIMBY?"

Tyler seems to be assuming that the people who are complaining about land-use restrictions are the NIMBY people. I think they're separate groups. If you own a house in the Bay Area, high restrictions on development mean that your neighborhood stays pretty much the way it is, except your house value skyrockets thanks to the restrictions on housing supply. Win-win for the homeowners, who can be pretty much modeled as the landlords in Ricardo's labor-capital-land model. That is, they are both the source and the beneficiaries of NIMBY-ism.

Population growth and change in technology. Zoning laws and one size fits all. Recipe for revolt.

So the corollary would be if you favor well planned development that takes water, road, and transit developments into account, you should favor limited immigration that emphasizes skills, ability to assimilate, and humanitarian concerns? Even if planning and getting things right causes less development and immigration then would happen in a rule free counterfactual?

Agreed!

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