Matthew E. Kahn's blog

My Interview Published in the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland's New Forefront Magazine

I apologize for self-promotion but you have to admit that parts of this interview posted here at are funny and mildly thought provoking!  This interview focuses on the causes and consequences of "green cities".

Here is an excerpt: 

Richter: On your blog, you noted that you can buy 100 homes in Detroit for the price of one in Westwood [where UCLA is located]. Is that a good deal?

A Low Cost Way to Learn About the Future of China

During my first week in China, I have spoken to dozens of people and toured all over Beijing. I even have a map listing the locations of all of the McDonalds in Beijing. Spatial theorists need to write down a model to explain how a uniform distribution of McDonalds is what we observe.

While I am quite happy to be here, this is not a low cost trip. The flight over was literally a pain in the neck. I'm in trouble with my wife

A First Trip to Beijing

I have lived in Boston, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco but I have never seen anything like Beijing.  Over the next two weeks, I'm giving a series of talks at Tsinghua, Peking University and the Lincoln Institute, and the CASS.  While I was little surprised to see Mao's face on all of the money and to not be able to access my blog, I have been very impressed with everything I see and I see glimpses of a future "green city".

Why is Vancouver Such a Nice City?

Last week I was up in Vancouver participating in a "Roundtable" discussion focused on whether Vancouver's politicians should pass policies to "protect" commercial activity downtown from displacement caused by the red hot residential condo market. At this roundtable, I had the opportunity to meet Brent Toderian. He is the City of Vancouver's Director of Planning. I was very impressed with him. It now strikes me that "free market" enviro/urban economists (such as myself) and urban planners should talk more often. Permit me to generalize based on 2 data points!

Planning and Climate Change

This is my first blog post on this network and I'm happy to be here. For 1.5 years, I've been blogging by myself at and this is the first time that I've been a "team" player. I'm hoping that debates and discussions on important policy issues take place here and I'll try to do my part to not be boring!