The Limits of Mobility and the Persistence of Urban Inequality
127 Yale Law Journal Forum 480 (2017)
16 Pages Posted: 19 Oct 2017 Last revised: 2 Nov 2017
Date Written: October 18, 2017
David Schleicher’s Article, Stuck! The Law and Economics of Residential Stagnation, draws much needed attention to the consequences of declining interregional mobility of low-income workers. However, this Response argues that his policy prescriptions evince a blind spot for the economic and racial stratification of disadvantaged populations within the successful metro regions these new migrants would enter. The concentration of highly skilled, educated, and affluent populations in the urban core, and the segregation and isolation of disadvantaged populations outside of it, impose additional costs on new migrants to access economic opportunities. Schleicher fails to sufficiently account for these costs, which offset the potential wage gains from mobility. Moreover, his focus on a few select “hot” metro areas ignores the resurgence of other cities that can, with the right policy interventions, expand economic opportunities for disadvantaged populations. If the federal government is to play a renewed role in redistributing economic opportunity, as Schleicher proposes, then it should do so by helping to bridge the spatial gap between that opportunity and disadvantaged populations both from within and outside cities and metro regions.
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