Thinking about the MIT Sloan School crime study of Cambridge, after the ending of rent control, and the continued negative impact of rent control on San Francisco, and the distortions and collusions involved in legislature mandated rights of first refusal.

How does local crime against persons and property impact the institutions in our midst? Put yourself in the shoes of a potential MIT graduate student, or a potential investor in a Cambridge-based start-up company. Would a 10% increase in violent crime against persons near MIT cause a 10% drop in the willingness of people to invest their lives and Property in Cambridge? What is the relationship between the two factors?

Of what benefit is a 16% drop in crime? This MIT study seems to have all the math needed to discern the impacts and costs of crime from other confounding factors after the end of Rent Control in 1994.

Anecdotally I have heard from venture investor acquaintances that the situation in New Haven had a negative impact on Yale University in the past, but that recently Yale has recovered somewhat from that. Personally I took a little tour around those neighborhoods when was considering an offer in the 1980s to quit my job at MIT and take a job working in the Yale Computer Science department; what I saw was reminded me of a cross what I had seen in parts of Washington DC and what I had seen in Appalachia. No investment, no jobs, no economy, no hope.

Be that as it may I know a lot more people who graduated from a school in New Haven and ended up in Cambridge than the other way around. Being in Cambridge, observation bias? I’m sure a study of data from Linked-in and similar education/job-history resources would reveal interesting details.

A related question is described in this news article. What is the impact of a bifurcated housing market? More generally, what are the impacts of laws designed to keep insiders in existing housing and to make it more difficult and expensive for newcomers? The article mentions that rent controlled tenants in San Francisco save $393 million a year in rent, but that due to many factors including housing units being suppressed from the market, that the renters in the other side of the bifurcation ended up paying $5000 million more in rent.

Does it make sense to have a system that costs $5000 million to save $394 million? What a bargain. On the other hand, from the point of view of some landlords, what can be more perfect than a government-driven artificial shortage of housing (the government suppresses the mom and pop small landlords) in order to maximize profits?

Speaking of the creation of artificial shortages, here is an article on an absurd Tenant Right of First Refusal (TROFR) law and the negative impact it has had on the availability of housing in Washington DC. The article describes how the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA), calling it a law used to stifle landlords, is reducing affordable housing.

Using the buzzword TOPA one can find related articles, such as this one that describes how a persons renting a room in a house where the owner resides have been able to block sales and cache out by auctioning off their transferable TROFR.