Matthew E. Kahn Profile picture
Aug 25, 2019 6 tweets 4 min read Read on X
Blame Economists for the Mess We’re In This book appears to argue that Milton Friedman's ideas caused our current economic challenges. This is an interesting claim that I reject. During my time at @uchicago, I was taught that human capital is the key. 1/2
@UChicago (2/3) Milton Friedman's endorsement of vouchers for K-12 schools and for housing (rather than public schools and public housing) was never implemented. These policies alone could have played a key role in ending poverty and the hyper-segregation of the poor. Next inflation.
@UChicago (3/3) Friedman and Anna Schwartz's work on the causes and consequences of hyperinflation has played a central role in protecting the poor's purchasing power.…
@UChicago (4/3) At @uchicago, we were taught that skill is produced throughout the life cycle as you choose how much to invest (and society, peers, and parents also invest in you). Wages rise with skill. Early under-investment in children is the core cause of poverty.
@UChicago The policy solution to reducing poverty is investment in early life skill formation , strengthening the family, and encouraging the geographic mobility of the poor (MTO). My own work has studied how to pay for this.…
@UChicago As shown in this video where Milton Friedman discusses the negative income tax, he spent a lot of time thinking about how to improve the quality of life of the less fortunate.

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More from @mattkahn1966

Dec 23, 2023
The industrial organization aspects of climate change adaptation is a very promising field. A thread about my two related papers.
Larger firms have an adaptation edge (even if they only have a single establishment) because of their access to manager quality, capital and data. Many adaptation strategies are "lumpy" requiring a large fixed cost. Heckman's selection work matters!
Small firms in the developing world face extreme climate risks. Using some great spatial data collection and a survey approach, we explore how small business entrepreneurs are adapting to the challenge. Manager quality matters here!
Read 5 tweets
May 20, 2023
As we celebrate Robert Lucas's contributions to economic science, let's take a look at a new Science paper written by non-economists who ignore the Lucas Critique. Their study is generating headlines (1/n).…
The authors report reduced form empirical estimates of the association between national per-capita income growth from 1960 to 2019 and El Nino Weather events and then extrapolate forward. The words "markets" and "adaptation" do not appear in the paper.
Empirical "climate damage functions" are interesting. These functions often flatten over time because of innovation and investment chosen to help us to adapt to the emerging challenges we face. Here are two papers documenting such progress.…
Read 9 tweets
May 17, 2023
Urban adaptation pessimism from NPR.…
The combination of WFH and high interest rates certainly pose a challenge for the urban commercial real estate sector in cities featuring significant traffic congestion. Adaptation can occur on several margins. Image
Big "Blue" cities are waiting for a 2nd term Biden Bail Out. Returning to Lucas and Prescott's work on time consistency, if the Federal Government could commit to no bailouts; cities would introduce road pricing, improve quality of life, and fast track building conversion rules
Read 5 tweets
Sep 1, 2021
The New Orleans area does not have access to grid electricity right now due to Hurricane Ida. What resilience lessons will be learned about holding a diversified portfolio of power generation and distribution strategies? Is "small beautiful"? A thread.…
After Hurricane Sandy, my brother (who lives in New Jersey) purchased a diesel backup power generator. Power access raises "make versus buy" issues. How many non-poor people in the Ida Impacted Area have the ability to make their own power right now?
How will Facebook and other platforms be used to help people who demand electricity find access to those decentralized suppliers who can supply it? How will such Hayek market forces and social networks fuel the disaster recovery?
Read 7 tweets
Sep 1, 2021
I am very sorry to hear this news. Professor Tolley taught PHD urban economics in Winter Quarter 1990. Ed Glaeser and I were students in that class. We learned plenty from Prof. Tolley and Ed and I agreed that urban economics was a great research field.
As I look back at Professor Tolley's published papers, I see how his work on urban and environmental topics helped to shape my vision for my own research program on the causes and consequences of "green cities". Cities with great quality of life thrive.…
George Tolley taught several great economists including my friend Glenn Blomquist.… . Glenn's student Stephen Locke is my friend and co-author.…
Read 4 tweets
Aug 31, 2021
.@MacMc21CC --- Some algebra based on your great report with Ron Hartman. For every 1000 Baltimore residents who work remotely for a Washington DC entity, suppose they must go to DC 2 days a week. They will demand 400 MARC round trips per day (1000*2/5).…
What is the capacity of a MARC train? Could Baltimore have 10,000 residents who work "in DC" and commute by MARC 2 days a week? What logistics would need to be solved here? Let's assume that workers can show up off-peak. Can a fast MARC integrate the local markets?
For those with a taste for academic work, take a look at my two China bullet-train papers that examines how such trains create an integrated economic unit.…
Read 4 tweets

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