A graphic novel for YIMBYs

As soon as Bryan Caplan’s graphic novel on Open Borders went up for sale, I ordered it. I had been waiting for this book to be published for a couple of years, both because I’m a big fan of how Bryan thinks about and argues for open borders, and because I was curious about the use of graphic novels as a medium for advancing a set of policy proposals.

I now think that the medium works very well. So well, in fact, that I’ve been thinking about other issues or policy proposals that might benefit from the graphic novel treatment.

My pet cause of course is housing, and specifically how land use rules constrain the supply of new housing in cities.

I’ve found that most people could be made sympathetic to the YIMBY cause after a short conversation on the benefits of building more housing in big expensive cities. In my experience, most people haven’t thought about the issue much beyond their aesthetic preferences and status quote bias.

A graphic novel outlining the case for more housing in major cities could do a lot to convert the agnostic, and even some NIMBYs, to the YIMBY cause. As cultural change is a necessary (if insufficient) condition for policy change, it would also move us in the right direction toward land use rule reform.

It’s certainly worth a try.