≡ Menu

The Reality of Rent Control Cannot Be Pointed Out Too Often

Here’s a letter to the Wall Street Journal:


You accurately describe rent control as “among the dumbest policies known to man” (“St. Paul Regrets Rent Control,” Oct. 4). It is also, short of an actual shooting war, among the most destructive. Rent control certainly does, as it’s doing now in St. Paul, diminish builders’ enticements to construct new housing. But this policy also reduces landlords’ incentives and abilities to maintain existing housing units. The quantity of housing shrinks as its quality deteriorates. As my late colleague Walter Williams observed, “short of aerial saturation bombing, rent control might be one of the most effective means of destroying a city.”*

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030

* Walter E. Williams, “The Poor, Poor Welfare State,” Reason, July 1987.

Next post:

Previous post: