David Schleicher has written an important Article on the relationship between law and mobility, arguing for policymakers to be more concerned with policies that stand in the way of individuals moving to bigger, more productive cities. This Response takes up the costs of mobility for productivity, welfare, and sex equality omitted by Schleicher, and addresses Schleicher’s treatment of place as a market. Schleicher’s argument fails to take account of how mobility interacts with critical relationships. While Schleicher’s view of productivity is premised in agglomeration economics, he ignores how mobility ruptures the very relationships on which the benefits of agglomeration (and broader welfare metrics) depend. He also misses how moves often are not made by individuals, but rather by families, and neglects the fact that such moves often entail losses for women. Finally, Schleicher treats place as a market where individuals should essentially move to the highest bidder, ignoring how our attachments to places run far deeper than the labor market opportunities they afford.
GW Paper Series
GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2017-83; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-83
Schoenbaum, Naomi, Stuck or Rooted? The Costs of Mobility and the Value of Place (October 31, 2017). 127 Yale L. J. F. 500 (2017); GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2017-83; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2017-83. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3062849