Blame California! Thomas Sowell on the Housing Boom and Bust

The thing I love about Thomas Sowell is that I get six new research ideas every time I listen to him talk. He’s primarily a theorist: he’s not interested in testing the libertarian stories he’s strung together to conclude “Government is bad.” I am, however. It seems to me that there would be some interesting empirical work testing his assertions about California land values here.

So unlike my armchair theorizing earlier this week, the spatial origins of the foreclosure crisis are, according to Sowell, in California.

He makes me furious, and he makes me think. And he’s an amazingly productive scholar.

2 thoughts on “Blame California! Thomas Sowell on the Housing Boom and Bust

  1. Aren’t people like Ed Glaeser already doing this empirically and finding Sowell is right about zoning driving housing prices? (Or perhaps that might be backwards and it might be better to say that Sowell is picking up this empirical work and using it to make an argument). Not to say that the research question is all tapped out, but it seems like there’s already a pretty solid start.

  2. Yes, but one of the interesting ideas that Sowell brings up are the costs associated with other types of environmental regulation on housing costs. There’s certainly research there, but there are some California exceptions that I think might make for some interesting research, like the coastal zone regulations (I know Matt Kahn is working on this) and the ESA.

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