In West Harlem, there has been an increase in the supply of dog poop left on the ground. The NY Times tells a social capital story featuring richer people bringing more dogs to the area and exacerbating the “Tragedy of the Commons”. If the new entrants to the area don’t feel a connection to the area then they may not feel in the mood to engage in “voluntary restraint”. Will NYC Mayorial candidates run on a “law and order” campaign here? In 2003, Dora Costa and I published a paper on social capital trends in the U.S. We found that income inequality at the metropolitan area level was an important correlate of being a “bad citizen”. In our 2003 study, we examined outcomes such as volunteering because dog poop was not coded up as a variable in our micro data sets.
Switching subjects; for some economics of Downton Abbey click here.