UP Links 28 May 2013

+ Brandon Fuller

Tyler Cowen on Immigration and the Wages of Unskilled Workers

In my view the evidence…suggests that the negative wage pressures on unskilled labor, to the extent they have international origins at all (as opposed to TGS or automation or political factors), come more from outsourcing and trade than from immigration.  So if you limit low-skilled immigration, outsourcing likely will go up, as it would be harder to find cheap labor in the United States.  The United States will lose the complementary jobs as well, such as the truck driver who brings cafeteria snacks to the call center.  Conversely, if you increase low-skilled immigration, you will also get more investment in the United States and more complementary jobs as well and possibly some increasing returns from clustering and maybe more net tax revenue too.  On top of that the individuals themselves have greater choice as to where to spend their lives and build their careers.

Relocating Residents of Informal Settlements in Manila

For years, the local government has chosen to deal with slum-dwellers either by pretending they don’t exist – famously building a fence last May to hide a sprawling slum ahead of a visiting ADBdelegation – or by resettling inhabitants, often forcibly and in distant provinces far from employment opportunities, in sporadic efforts to quickly beautify the capital. But under a five-year, $1.2 billion USD mandamos (mandate) from the Philippines’ Supreme Court to clean up the heavily polluted waterways that feed into Manila Bay, the city is now relocating 104,000 families from the city’s many estuaries, tributaries, canals and rivers – and priorities have obviously changed. Instead of resettling these 500,000-plus inhabitants outside of Metro Manila, the government’s primary focus is on moving them into on-site and in-city developments, a major departure from previous policy.

Tackling the Problem of Freight Congestion in Cities

Giuliano boils these problems down into three categories. The first is what she calls the “metro core” problem: essentially the congestion and double-parking that occurs in city centers when trucks aren’t well-managed during the first and last mile of delivery. The second is the environmental impact of moving freight through the metro area. And the third is the hub dilemma — the additional layer of commercial traffic that accrues at international nodes like Los Angeles (for port shipping) or Chicago (for rail freight).

Reihan Salam on Urban and Suburban Poverty

…the fact that a fifth of New York city’s population lives in poverty while the same is true of only 9 percent of the population in its suburbs doesn’t represent a failing — rather, it reflects the fact that density and the widespread availability of mass transit are particularly valuable to the poor, who find it more difficult to purchase and maintain automobiles and for whom density facilitates greater access to service jobs. Commuting from Hempstead, a Long Island community with relatively high poverty levels, to a service job in New York city’s urban core is more time-consuming and expensive than commuting from Brooklyn or Queens. Commuting from Hempstead to one of Long Island’s affluent suburban neighboods can also be time-consuming and expensive, particularly when there are no direct transit links, as is often the case. So suburban poverty poses problems that poverty in dense cities well-served by transit does not. The problem we face is that the U.S. has relatively few dense cities that are well-served by transit, as such cities can greatly facilitate upward mobility for the very poor.

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