Metro Policy

The Real Immigration Debate Isn’t About the Law
April 26, 2012

Anyone who keeps an eye on immigration in America is thinking about Arizona right now, as the U.S.

The Short-Changing of our Kids’ Futures and a Next Economy Approach to Change Course
April 26, 2012

Last week, Brookings published a paper by my colleague, Jonathan Rothwell, focused on the extent to which low-income kids are concentrated in low-performing schools, as measured by test scores.

Contracting for Railcars and Jobs in Los Angeles
April 25, 2012

March’s job numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics were bleak. The 120,000 jobs added to the economy fell far short of the 200,000 that were expected. While the unemployment rate dipped to 8.2 percent, in California it remains stubbornly high at 11 percent. Against this backdrop, an interesting and complicated discussion is taking place in metropolitan Los Angeles over the best way to spend public dollars, create jobs, build needed infrastructure, while simultaneously boosting U.S.

Why Regions Fail: Zoning as an Extractive Institution
April 19, 2012

The hottest topic in economic development theory right now is the role of institutions.

EITC Receipt Continues to Rise in Recession's Wake
April 17, 2012

Today, as we mark the close of another tax filing season, an article in this morning’s New York Times reminds us just how important this time of year is to millions of low-income working families struggling to make ends meet. That’s because each year, tax time provides a window of opportunity for low-income workers to connect with one of the country’s most effective poverty alleviation and work support programs--the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Low-Density Suburbs Are Not Free-Market Capitalism
April 10, 2012

Recently in the Wall Street Journal, transportation consultant Wendell Cox published an op-ed entitled: “California Declares War on Suburbia.” Cox argues that “planners” in California are attacking what he calls “the most popular housing choice,” the single-family detached home, and if they get their way, they will weaken California’s economy, drive up housing prices, and increase traffic congestion. Actually, the homogenous prevalence of low-density single-family suburban housing is the outcome of the very government “planning” process that Cox decries, as economist Ed Glaeser has noted (see

The Race for H1-B Visas Begins
April 09, 2012

Ready. Set. Go. Last week, the first business day of April marked the starting line for the race against the H-1B visa cap for fiscal year 2013, and 22,000 applications have already been filed in the first four days--the fastest rate since 2009. The H-1B visa program is used by employers in the America to provide temporary visas for up to six years for foreigners in specialty occupations.  H-1B applicants must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, but in many instances they have master’s and doctoral degrees.  H-1B visas are used by employers throughout America to acquire skills in informatio

EB-5 Visas: A Smarter, Cleaner Plan
April 04, 2012

A more than 20-year old program, long underutilized, is slowly emerging as a potential lifeline for regional economic development for some metro areas and states at a time when traditional financing streams are running dry. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa program—created as part of the Immigration Act of 1990—allocates 10,000 green cards per year to foreigners who invest $1 million (or $500,000 in a targeted employment area) in qualifying U.S.

Louisville vs. Kentucky, No More
March 31, 2012

It’s game day.  Kentucky’s two largest metro areas face off tonight as the University of Louisville Cardinals and the University of Kentucky Wildcats, of Lexington, go head-to-head in New Orleans in the final showdown before Monday’s NCAA championship game. As this legendary rivalry reaches its boiling point this weekend, you won’t see a punch fly between Mayor Fischer of Louisville and Mayor Gray of Lexington.  Instead, behind their playful wager and exchange of good-luck bourbon and IPA, these two mayors and their metros are acting in stark contrast to their teams’ fierce on-court competitio

Global Cities’ Success Isn’t A Zero-Sum Game
March 30, 2012

Two of the country’s best-known urban thinkers have a discussion underway at Atlantic Cities and New Geography about changes in the urban hierarchy brought along by globalization. It paints a picture of globalization as a zero-sum game in which one city’s growth comes at the expense—at least relatively—of another’s. They suggest that peaks—concentrated centers of population and prosperity—get higher while valleys—economic left-behinds—get lower. Global competition certainly can sap a region’s assumed strengths and lead to periodic even multiple decade long population decline if a transition in