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Blog: Respected Economist Takes Down Rent Control

Blog: Respected Economist Takes Down Rent Control

A growing number of the population is struggling to find housing they can afford. It’s a clear strain on families that must be addressed. And in lieu of innovative solutions, some are advocating for antiquated rent control policies that we know too well are ineffective and harmful. And in fact, it’s difficult to find any issue where economists on both sides of the political spectrum agree so fervently.

In case you missed it, one such economist, Jay Parsons, took down rent control once and for all in a Twitter thread. He highlighted the catastrophic history of rent control, the harmful impact it has on communities and the unified perspectives on rent control from economists of all backgrounds.

As Parsons reminds readers in his thread, rent control is rare historically because we have clear examples that we can look to demonstrating that the flawed policy doesn’t work as intended. It is a short-term fix for current residents (and not necessarily those in most need), at the expense of long-term affordability for a much broader population. As a Stanford economist notes, “Rent control appears to help affordability in the short run for current tenants, but in the long-run decreases affordability, fuels gentrification and creates negative externalities.”

He shares disastrous, specific examples of unintended consequences from rent control policies:

He notes the unambiguous opposition from economists across the political spectrum:

Parsons bottom line: It’s disingenuous to say that “landlords argue rent control reduces supply and backfires on low-income households.”

 

Basic economics and history show us the facts, and that’s more important than whatever landlords say. If someone argued in favor of vaccines by stating only “Pfizer says it’s good,” that would be ridiculous, right? Even if Pfizer was right, what matters is what unaffiliated data science shows. Stating only that “landlords say rent control is bad” only scratches the surface of the issue. We need solutions that get to the root of the problem and address the needs of all residents. Rent control isn’t one of them.

 

You can read the full thread from Jay Parsons here.

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