The ASSA conference in early January is the biggest economics conference each year. Thousands of economists descended this year to San Francisco for three days of fun and frivolity. (OK, three days of learning about new models, statistical methods, and results – but that’s the same thing, right?) I was a discussant for one paper and presented a poster on Broadway Economics. I also saw several good presentations where I learned some things, worked on projects with my co-authors, and met several interesting people. It was a fantastic conference.
San Francisco, however? What a dump. Coming in on the BART (their train), you see many run-down houses that still cost a fortune, because of the insane property restrictions. It makes you wonder why anyone would live there. Of course, it might be because they love being accosted by beggars on their dirty streets. Between the griminess, the beggars, the high property values, high taxes (even on plastic bags - which costs lives), and the other ways it restricts liberty, San Francisco might be my least favorite US city. It is even in the running with Mexico City and Naples, Italy as far as places I most want to avoid. (Although I did like Fisherman’s Wharf ...)