Americans love to think of their cities as incubators of opportunity. While this has often been true, there are increasing signs that successful city-dwellers are making it harder for newcomers to follow their example. In housing and labor markets, insiders appear to be winning in terms of wealth accumulation, advancement, and political advantage. Flawed land-use regulations discourage new construction and inflate costs, while minimum-wage laws insulate existing workforces from competition and hamper the economic and geographic mobility of newcomers, particularly young adults and migrants.
The proliferation of unfair laws and regulations is walling off opportunity in America’s greatest cities. In this year’s James Q. Wilson Lecture, MI Senior Fellow Edward Glaeser will address the conflict between entrenched interests and newcomers in its economic, political, geographic, and generational dimensions. The question for policymakers is whether they enhance the gains that flourish from the proximity and openness that cities offer, or double-down on the advantages secured by exclusion and anti-competitive behavior.
Edward Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1992, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and a contributing editor of City Journal. He has also served as director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and as director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston. His work has focused on the determinants of urban growth and on the role of cities as centers of idea transmission. He holds a B.A. from Princeton University and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
Sponsored, with admiration, by a former student of James Q. Wilson.