Monday, October 13, 2008

Congrats to Krugman

Seems he won some Nobel Prize. From Nobel:
Economies of scale combined with reduced transport costs also help to explain why an increasingly larger share of the world population lives in cities and why similar economic activities are concentrated in the same locations. Lower transport costs can trigger a self-reinforcing process whereby a growing metropolitan population gives rise to increased large-scale production, higher real wages and a more diversified supply of goods. This, in turn, stimulates further migration to cities. Krugman's theories have shown that the outcome of these processes can well be that regions become divided into a high-technology urbanized core and a less developed "periphery".
Let's look back to what he's said on transit...
But none of it amounts to much. For example, some major public transit systems are excited about ridership gains of 5 or 10 percent. But fewer than 5 percent of Americans take public transit to work, so this surge of riders takes only a relative handful of drivers off the road.

Any serious reduction in American driving will require more than this — it will mean changing how and where many of us live. To see what I’m talking about, consider where I am at the moment: in a pleasant, middle-class neighborhood consisting mainly of four- or five-story apartment buildings, with easy access to public transit and plenty of local shopping.

It’s the kind of neighborhood in which people don’t have to drive a lot, but it’s also a kind of neighborhood that barely exists in America, even in big metropolitan areas. Greater Atlanta has roughly the same population as Greater Berlin — but Berlin is a city of trains, buses and bikes, while Atlanta is a city of cars, cars and cars.


Alon Levy said...

The article was very Friedmanian. It's anecdotal, it comes off as the reaction of a wayward tourist seeing something shiny in another country, and it has a very low information-to-narrative ratio. At least it provides more context, by mentioning density and the problem of buildings.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

True. I'm trying to see how his nobel work might relate transit expansion specifically. I'll have to read the papers.

Alon Levy said...

His Nobel work was on international trade and currency exchange rates, so it probably doesn't relate at all.

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

From the link to Nobel above, it seemed to be partly related to economic geography.