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The Agenda

NRO’s domestic-policy blog, by Reihan Salam.

Stray Links for 28 May 2012



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Happy Memorial Day, my friends. Here are a few articles and essays that might be of interest:

(1) Andrew Katzenstein and Scott Bowman address a number of misconceptions about the tax implications of renouncing U.S. citizenship, and Josh Barro argues that the real Facebook tax outrage is not Eduardo Saverin’s decision to renounce his citizenship but rather the fact that the favoritism the U.S. tax code shows towards tech companies. 

(2) Ryan Avent has yet another worthwhile post on the economic implications of artificial limits to growth in high-productivity regions. He references “City Unplanning,” an ambitious paper by David Schleicher that offers a theory as to why local land use regulations have grown so onerous over time and why competition across jurisdictions in metropolitan areas hasn’t been enough to mitigate the phenomenon.

(3) John Taylor, a Stanford economist very well-regarded in conservative circles and among senior Republican policymakers, has been arguing that regulation is a more important part of America’s sluggish growth than is commonly understood, a position we’ve taken in this space. Moreover, he seems to take a somewhat softer line on market monetarism than one might have expected in a review of Robert Hetzel’s The Great Recession: Market Failure or Policy Failure? than one might have expected.

(4) As Rebecca Smith reports in the Wall Street Journal, “the shale-gas boom is rippling through transportation” as many shippers are choosing natural-gas-powered trucks over diesel trucks.

(5) Jacob Levy has a provocative post on why Quebec’s mix of extremely low university tuitions and extremely high taxes might help preserve its distinctive cultural identity. The basic argument is that francophone students are more likely to remain in the province, as their economic opportunities are somewhat more constrained by their linguistic background elsewhere in English-speaking North America, while anglophone students face a powerful incentive to take advantage of low university tuitions before migrating to avoid high taxes and the somewhat weaker, less entrepreneurial economy that flows from high taxes. So what might look like a problematic outcome from the perspective of economic development — a policy that exacerbates a “brain drain” from the province — actually looks like a desirable outcome from the perspective of cultural survival. 

(6) A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on post-presidential incentives. Matthew Stoller has offered a left-of-center meditation on the same theme, and while he makes claims that I’d be hesitant to make — you’ll notice that our posts are written in a very different style — it makes for an interesting post.

(7) John Tomasi’s Free Market Fairness offers a highly original and convincing defense of private economic liberties as a requirement of democratic legitimacy that merits lengthy discussion. I recommend it enthusiastically. 

(8) Gabriel Rossman, one of my favorite thinkers, had a brilliant guest run at Megan McArdle’s blog, which included an epic post on “how things get popular.” The post lives up to the title.

(9) Enrico Moretti is calling for the creation of “relocation vouchers” to facilitate the migration of workers from high unemployment regions to low unemployment regions. Back in October of 2010, Jens Ludwig and Steven Raphael called for a mobility bank to facilitate job-promoting residential moves.



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