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The direct beneficiaries of progress on this problem would mostly be middle-class people in developed countries — not the most needy of groups globally. However, if you believe economic growth, wage increases and technological advancement in developed countries are valuable goals, this is one of the more promising policy changes for raising productivity.

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An opportunity to tackle the problem is to start or join a non-profit or lobbying body to advocate for more housing construction in key urban areas and states. Another option would be to try to shift zoning decisions from local to state governments, where they are less likely to be determined by narrow local interests, especially existing land-owners who benefit from higher property prices. Sometimes recommended This is a pressing problem to work on, but you may be able to have an even bigger impact by working on something else.

This estimate is uncertain.

The Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader and Iliad on Twin Cities Live

There is both strong established opposition and significant expert support behind policy change in this area. This is one of many profiles we've written to help people find the most pressing problems they can solve with their careers. Learn more about how we compare different problems, see how we try to score them numerically , and see how this problem compares to the others we've considered so far. Our analysis is mostly based on a cause overview from the Open Philanthropy Project , and the papers cited therein.

Local governments in the US and other countries such as the UK or Australia typically have a variety of laws that limit what kinds of buildings can be constructed in different places, including limits on the number of stories or floorspace in a building. One effect of these policies is to prevent the construction of dense housing or offices. This drives up house and office prices and means fewer people can live in particularly desirable locations.

This is thought to have multiple negative effects: 3 4. Similar effects might be expected in cities such as London. The key cause of this problem is that the biggest potential beneficiaries of land use reform — people who want to move to a suburb — do not get any say over the regulations that keep them out. In the current system, when there is a conflict between the desires of incumbent residents and everyone else, incumbent residents will usually win. This is important mostly in the few major growing urban areas where land use regulations are driving up prices.

The Wealth of Humans : Work, Power, and Status in the Twenty-First Century

This seems to be a cause area that would require substantial investment in your career capital before you could have much influence. To the extent that the most productive cities are also the most income-stratified, I have real concerns for the future of the middle class.

The productive growth that made it possible is rapidly deserting its natural habitat. And community colleges, often the only higher educational outposts in middle class areas, are left to swim against the cultural undertow. Their personal allegiances are to their disciplines, which have annual meetings in places like San Francisco or D. Not a bad way to spend two bucks.


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  • Ryan Avent's The Gated City: Are NIMBYs killing the economy? (book review)!
  • Ryan Avent's The Gated City: Are NIMBYs killing the economy? (book review).

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The impact on college sports programs if athletes are paid opinion. Large study finds colleges that go test optional become more diverse and maintain academic quality.

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3 great housing policy ebooks: The Triumph of the City, The Gated City, The Rent is Too Damn High

Title The Gated Community College. By Dean Dad. September 15, Read more by Dean Dad. Want to advertise? Click here.