Sunday, May 22, 2022

People leaving unhappy cities for Houston, fixing the housing shortage driven by remote work, Stephen Kleinberg tribute

 A few smaller items this week:

“ A paper published this week by two California economists calculated that the mass shift to remote work accounted for 15.1 percentage points of the 24% increase in U.S. home prices between November 2019 and 2021.”
“There are lots of places in America with jobs and lower climate risks or jobs and racial diversity, but if you want all three, Texas will take care of you best,” The NYTimes noted in 2021.
“Many of us move to big cities and spend little time in nature — also not a path to happiness. A study by the economists Ed Glaeser and Josh Gottlieb ranked the happiness of every American metropolitan area. They found that New York City was just about the least happy. Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco also scored low. The happiest places include Flagstaff, Ariz.; Naples, Fla., and pretty much all of Hawaii. And when people move out of unhappy cities to happy places, they report increased happiness.”

And a little humor, lol: "The data-driven answer to life is as follows: Be with your love, on an 80-degree and sunny day, overlooking a beautiful body of water, having sex."

  • And here are the academic paper details behind that excerpt: Unhappy Cities. People are the least happy in some of America's largest cities like NYC, LA, SF, Boston, and Chicago. Oddly, Dallas and Houston are not included, although Galveston scores surprisingly high (#16).
"Abstract: There are persistent differences in self-reported subjective well-being across U.S. metropolitan areas, and residents of declining cities appear less happy than other Americans. Newer residents of these cities appear to be as unhappy as longer term residents, and yet some people continue to move to these areas. While the historical data on happiness are limited, the available facts suggest that cities that are now declining were also unhappy in their more prosperous past. One interpretation of these facts is that individuals do not aim to maximize self-reported well-being, or happiness, as measured in surveys, and they willingly endure less happiness in exchange for higher incomes or lower housing costs. In this view, subjective well-being is better viewed as one of many arguments of the utility function, rather than the utility function itself, and individuals make trade-offs among competing objectives, including but not limited to happiness."
Finally, a great little video tribute to Dr. Stephen Kleinberg at Rice University, who is retiring after an amazing 40 years of conducting the Houston Area Survey. Thank you, Stephen Klineberg.

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