Ryan Avent

Ryan Avent is a freelance economics writer living in Washington, D.C. He blogs at ryanavent.com, and at The Economist's Free Exchange.

If the grass looks greener, it’s important to understand the nature of the fence

Cross-posted from The Bellows. One of the things about politics is that solutions always seem easier to implement and more promising before they stand a real chance of being implemented. People who have for one …

The assumption of inconvenience

Cross-Posted from Streetsblog. Early this week, I noticed a number of my favorite bloggers linking to this Elisabeth Rosenthal essay at Environment 360, on the mysterious greenness of European nations. The average American, as it …

Off the rails

Washington Post features rail hack job from Robert Samuelson

This post originally appeared on Streetsblog DC. This is the big problem with Ed Glaeser’s New York Times posts purporting to analyze the costs and benefits of a high speed rail system. Despite Glaeser’s acknowledgment …

A poor strategy for halting climate change

Reducing emissions isn’t an economy killer

I am a little boggled by this comment in the New Yorker, by David Owen. It’s written from the perspective of someone who seems to be bothered by the threat of climate change, but who …

The Transit Authority: Done with the Gipper

The aging of the Boomers means it’s time for new priorities

Ronald Reagan This past week saw the return of the annual spectacle known as CPAC — the Conservative Political Action Conference — to Washington. As is inevitable whenever conservatives gather, invocations of the greatness of …

The Transit Authority: A looming crisis

Transit budget cuts are disasters in the making

Here is the lowdown: Transit fares generally don't cover operating expenses. Transit systems do not, unfortunately, turn a profit. In many conservative circles, this is considered a damning indictment of the whole idea of public …

Command and control

Let's not pretend the government isn't encouraging suburbs

There are a great many ways in which the government shapes our land-use patterns. Sprawl apologists often argue that low-density, suburban-style development has dominated the American landscape over the past half century because it is …

Gender bias in commuting

Transportation policy and the working married woman

Progressives in favor of congestion pricing on highways and in central cities tend to argue for those policies on progressive grounds (shock!) -- that such pricing systems reduce emissions, improve air quality, and fund transit …

Big Rail

A pro-rail coalition should be much larger

As a big supporter of rail and transit, the creation of the OneRail coalition is quite heartening. It is, in a nutshell, a group of rail advocacy organizations that have banded together to lobby for …