Monday, August 5, 2013

Quote of the Week

"Suppose cities required all fast-food restaurants to include french fries with every hamburger. The fries would appear free, but they would have a high cost in money and health. Those who don't eat the fries pay higher prices for their hamburgers but receive no benefit. Those who do eat the fries they wouldn't have ordered separately are also worse off, because they eat unhealthy food they wouldn't otherwise buy. Even those who would order the fries if they weren't included free are no better off, because the price of a hamburger would increase to cover the cost of the fries. How are minimum parking requirements different? Minimum parking requirements force people who are too poor to own cars to pay for parking spaces they don't use, and they encourage others to buy more cars and drive them more than they would if they had to pay separately for parking. I'm not saying that there should be no parking. I am saying that parking should be supplied in a fair market."
That's from The High Cost of Free Parking by UCLA economist and urban planner Donald Shoup. For more on this idea check out these two recent articles by Tyler Cowen in The New York Times and Matthew Yglesias in Slate.

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