Spike in American parking debate after Tyler Cowen channels Shoup in the New York Times

Parking policy has never had a higher profile in the American blogosphere and econoblogs as it had this week.

An avalanche of commentary and debate was triggered when Tyler Cowen, economics professor and blogger at Marginal Revolution, wrote approvingly of Donald Shoup's parking policy ideas in his 14 August 2010 column in the New York Times then blogged briefly with some clarifications and reflections.

Some of the responses have been insightful, some muddled. Most have been interesting to a parking policy wonk like me. They are interesting not just for their actual insights on parking policy but also for their window into the assumptions Americans make when thinking about parking (the comments are often good for this too).

Below are some highlights with a focus on those who took up the issue substantively. Various other blogs offered brief summaries and comments on Cowen's piece, like this one, this one and this one. [links updated]
  • Arnold Kling was not convinced.
  • Cowen responds to Kling. Then adds some links to more discussion: "Here is Arnold's response to Robin, here is Robin on Arnold.  And yet more from Arnold.  And here is an O'Toole comment ..."
  • Ryan Avent chimes in to support Cowen and Shoup and to express surprise at libertarians defending regulations.
  • Timothy Lee at the 'libertarian' Cato Institute was delighted by Cowen's column (unlike his colleague, Randal O'Toole). Lee feels that the "important effect is on the geography of cities. Parking mandates (and other regulations) preclude developers from catering to people who want to live in pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.
  • Matthew Yglesias takes up Tim Lee's point, saying it is even worse than Lee thinks, because of feedback loops.  
There has also been a flood of other blogs highlighting the debate, like I am doing now. The funniest may be from Blunt Object, with a witty juxtaposition of coarse language, snarky observations and learned insider references to the economic schools of thought behind the points made by each protagonist.


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  2. Paul,

    Thanks for the link, and this wonderful website chock full of parking gold.

    I'll be back with a glass of wine and time to read your gems.

  3. Thanks for the link and the kind words! I'm not going to get behind "learned insider references" -- there's a reason I tag my econ posts as "glibness", and I'm pretty sure I owe Coase an apology -- but I'm glad you enjoyed my snark and obscenity.


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