Pricing and Social Equity Seminar Video

To watch the Roundtable discussions, follow this YouTube link:

The issues: Pricing and user charges for things like carbon and gasoline offer an effective means to achieve short-term gains in climate policy, air quality, congestion relief, and agency budgetary ills. At the same time, pricing and user charges also can cut low-income families out of publicly provided services.

But the jury is out—or it should be—on whether underpricing public services really benefits low-income families. Some public infrastructure and services, like roads and water, have significant external costs (like pollution or overconsumpution) that can also hurt low-income communities in the long term. If we fail to “pay as we go” with infrastructure, spending on infrastructure can also displace public funding needed for other services to low-income families, such as public schools. Finally, charging low prices to every user, not just the poor, limits the revenues to public agencies so that service quality can suffer. Those in poverty may be far less able to supplement lower-quality public services with private purchases the way higher income families can.

Welcome and introductory comments
Richard Little, Director, USC Keston Institute for Public Finance and infrastructure Policy

Water pricing and access to services
Moderator: Richard Little, USC Keston Institute

Round table participants:
Randall Crane, Urban Planning, UCLA
Charisma Acey, Urban Planning, Ohio State University
J.R. De Shazo, Public Policy, UCLA
George Chen, LADWP

Development fees and affordable housing
Moderator: Chris Redfearn, USC Lusk Center for Real Estate

Round table participants:
Jenny Schuetz, SPPD, USC
Casey Dawkins, Director, Metropolitan Institute, Virginia Tech
Mike Keston, Chairman of KFG Investment Group

Road pricing and barriers to social inclusion
Moderator: Genevieve Giuliano, USC Metrans Transportation Center

Round table participants:
Ken Small, UC Irvine
Brian Taylor, UCLA
Stephanie Wiggins, LAMTA

Carbon and energy pricing and social equity
Moderator: Chris WEare, USC Center for Sustainable cities

Round table participants:
Dan Mazmanian, Bedrosian Center, USC
Don Paul, USC Energy Institute
Adam Rose, USC, CREATE
Matt Kahn, UCLA Institute of the Environment

Summary, Recap, and Reflections
Richard G. Little.