Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tiebout sure knew what he was writing about

I went to my 35th high school reunion last weekend, in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  It was very pleasant--people were very nice.  But a large number of my classmates were puzzled that I enjoyed living in Los Angeles (OK, Pasadena)--they figured that I lived there only because I had to for my job.  I had to assure them that beyond weather, LA had many attributes that I liked, including the fact that it is a large city.  (I also like the mountains, the ocean, the food, the music, and the wide variety of people).

On the other hand, I always figured that people stayed in La Crosse because of family ties.  While it is a lovely place (it is on a stunning spot on the Mississippi River), it is, well, small, and pretty homogeneous.  It was quite clear to me, however, that the people who stayed there generally enjoyed living there. 

And so we sort.  Having lots of variation in cities almost certainly allows people to be happier, as they (often) find or stay in the place that best suits them. 

Let me finish the post with a picture of a sign one will certainly not see in Los Angeles.