Elites and Housing Segregation: What Gives?

Virginia Postrel has a provocative post on How Elites Built America’s Economic Wall up at Bloomberg (ht Wilson Mixon). The gist of the post is summed up as follows:

Housing prices have always been steeper in high-income places, but the difference is much greater than it used to be […] This segregation has social and political consequences, as it shapes perceptions — and misperceptions — of one’s fellow citizens and “normal” American life. It also has direct and indirect economic effects. “It’s a definite productivity loss,” Shoag says. “If there weren’t restrictions and you could build everywhere, it would be productive for people to move. You do make more as a waiter in LA than you do in Ohio. Preventing people from having that opportunity to move to these high-income places, making it so expensive to live there, is a loss.” That’s true not only for less-educated workers but for lower earners of all sorts, including the artists and writers who traditionally made places like New York, Los Angeles and Santa Fe cultural centers.

This excerpt gets a high place for my Obvious Statement of the Year Award, but are elites listening? Government regulations hurt workers and drive out competition. This is a given, but I have some questions I thought readers could help me answer.

My questions are both broad and messy: Continue reading