The Myth of American Productivity

I have a new article in the Washington Monthly entitled The Myth of American Productivity. Take a look.




  1. Having spent a number of years in the Hanover/Lebanon NH area (the towns are adjacent), I’d suggest that at least a part of the answer why Thermal Dynamics left lies in restrictive development policies. This is not an area that embraces growth and as a result costs are very high for a rural area. Housing that is affordable is either of very low quality or very far away. If Thermal Dynamics needed an extra 100 people where would they live? Like many employees of companies in Lebanon and Hanover some of them would probably end up commuting 15 to 20 miles from neighboring towns. This is probably not unusual in California, but Hanover and Lebanon are two small towns with populations of about 12000 each with a population density well under 500 people per square mile (The closest large city is Concord, an hour’s drive away and that has a population of only 42000).

    To some degree these towns can get away with this because it really is a desirable area to live, with Dartmouth college, a number of high tech companies in the area and considerable natural beauty. But one should not be too surprised when companies abandon restrictive areas (see California). The fact that some stay does not change the fact that restrictive development policies can raise costs beyond what some companies are prepared or able to accommodate. Why not move to an area where you are wanted?

    My views on this issue aligns fairly well with those of Ryan Avent in his recent book The Gated City, which also focuses on the impact of restrictive development policies on the economy.

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