Urban Field Research
1. I want to see researchers randomizing the cash amount given to people for housing vouchers to see how households tradeoff neighborhood quality for the size of the housing unit.
2. I want to see researchers randomize admissions letters among the waitlist to elite public schools to see how far households are willing to ship their kid on a bus to go to a good school (or whether they move to be closer to the school they have been assigned to).
3. I want to see researchers take random pollution readings and report these pollution levels to households to test whether such information changes self protection investments by at risk families.
4. I want to see public transit systems that have metro card systems run a pricing experiment where they announce a week ahead what the price of public transit will be the next week and then randomize the price that will be charged. This will yield a short run demand curve that can be compared to contingent valuation hypothetical estimates.
Since I don't know of anyone actually running these experiments, I will have to do my own field work. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be in Barcelona, New York City and Boston. For those folks who know something about Barcelona, please email me what excitement there is in this town that a staid 46 year old might enjoy.