The Fruits of Gridlock

This article originally appeared in Regulation. Click here to read the full article.

By Ike Brannon

Innovations spread through an economy in complicated ways, especially when we look beyond the private sector. For instance, economists have noted that the surprisingly slow adoption of leading-edge medical practices across the United States mirrors the glacially slow propagation of hybrid crop seeds a half-century ago.

In this new book, Brookings institution researchers Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley celebrate American metropolitan leaders of the last decade whom they consider forward-thinking and innovative politicians. to a degree, it’s hard to argue with their choices. For instance, they laud both Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg, which seems appropriate given the remarkable transformation of new York City in the last 20 years, with crime rates down by over two-thirds, public schools improving after hitting rock bottom, and tangible improvements in transportation. Along with various other developments, these efforts add up to a greatly increased quality of life in the city, and the government helped to achieve that. it’s hard to look at today’s new York City and not give Giuliani and Bloomberg some credit for these changes, concluding that effective government can make a difference.