Low Carbon Cities in the U.S and China

Ed Glaeser’s editorial in the Los Angeles Times discusses two of our recent papers.   I am disappointed that Rui Wang’s and Siqi Zheng’s names are misspelled in the piece.  Somebody could have checked that.   For nerds who like to read “real papers” (rather than blog posts);  here  is the China cities paper and here is the U.S cities paper.

Author: Matthew E. Kahn

Professor of Economics at UCLA.

4 thoughts on “Low Carbon Cities in the U.S and China”

  1. 1. The piece in question is not an editorial. Editorials are written by . . . get this . . . the editors. What you have linked to is an “op-ed” – opposite the editorial page.

    2. Chinese names are Anglicized in a variety of ways. It is incorrect to say they were “misspelled.”

  2. From the Glaeser piece: But we should eliminate the mistaken policies that artificially subsidize sprawl. The federal government subsidizes transportation significantly more in low-density areas than in high-density areas, and that pulls people away from cities. Economist Nathaniel Baum-Snow found in 2007 that each new postwar highway that cut into a city reduced that city’s population by 18%. The home mortgage interest deduction induces people to leave urban apartments, which are overwhelmingly rented, and move to suburban homes. Because the deduction scales up with the size of the mortgage, it essentially pays people to buy bigger, more energy-intensive homes.

    All good.

    And how about we get rid of the telephone tax that is used to bring high speed internet and cell towers to rural areas? I’ve never understood why Dems are so hip to do this tax. Rural America votes overwhelming republican. And no, bringing them high-speed internet won’t educate them otherwise. I am not interested in subsidizing their abilities to surf Fox, anti-Muslim hate sites, birther salons, and Global-denial sites.

    if they want to do that…
    Let them move to the city and do it on their own dime.

  3. Nikkibong,
    It is somewhat true that Chinese names and words are anglicized in a variety of ways (there are conventions; I believe the current standard is Pinyin, though I’m not well informed on the subject). It far less likely to be correct to say that the names of Rui Wang and Siqi Zheng are anglicized in a variety of ways. These people have proper names, and English versions of those names, and it is likely that they take the proper spelling of those English versions very seriously, because it’s important for their careers that they be findable using computer databases. They’ve published in (what I presume to be) the peer-reviewed literature using these spellings, so they’re hardly likely to change spellings at a whim.
    This is hardly a phenomenon new to Chinese names – after all, it used to be completely standard for immigration officials at Ellis island to give new spellings or whole new names even to immigrants arriving from European countries with proper paperwork written in the same alphabet we use; think, for example, of all those American Jews named Schwartz, when the actual German name was Schwarz. And once a new spelling has been decided upon, people tend to stick with it.
    The strange thing here is that their co-author on this paper has apparently spelled them in a manner different from the manner they chose when they co-authored a manuscript with him – unless some busybody editor at the paper ignorantly or arrogantly decided to “fix” the names for him.

  4. @Nikkibong: It is incorrect to say they were “misspelled.”

    No, it is perfectly correct. Firstly, the papers that were being discussed have the names given in the Latin alphabet, not in hanzi, so anglicization doesn’t come into it.

    Secondly, even if this was some deliberate strategy of back-converting to hanzi and then re-romanizing, without consulting the person whose name it is, I’d be surprised if Zeng and Zheng are competing versions of the same Chinese syllable. I could see Jeng or Cheng as versions of Zheng, but not Zeng.

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