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Maximizing the Economic Potential of American Cities

Inspired by three books published in the last year that help to elucidate the role of cities and density in making people and countries richer, Ezra Klein compiles some lessons for economic development in the United States.
March 13, 2012, 2pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Klein credits recent books by authors Ed Glaeser, Ryan Avent, and Matt Yglesias for focusing on the importance of cities in America's economy, with common threads running through their related subject matter.

The three principal findings that Klein finds in these studies that deserve attention are that:

  • Cities make us smarter, richer and more productive
  • We have choked off access to these remarkable growth machines for too many Americans
  • Anti-density policies...make it effectively impossible for Americans to live where they want

In developing solutions to the problems holding back the potential of American cities, Klein sees elements for both conservatives and liberals to like. "The means should thrill the right, as the agenda effectively boils down to deregulation. The ends should engage the left, as the people who are priced out of the cities - and thus of the benefits they bring - are the poor and the middle class, not the wealthy."

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Published on Tuesday, March 13, 2012 in The Washington Post
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