Jun 23 2010

Moving Carries Tremendous Externalities

Published by at 6:58 am under economics

Sorry for the delay in updates. I have been in the process of moving, which has taken me away from blogging.

Now, everything is in the new house, and many things even have a place to live!

The surprising thing about this move was just how disruptive it was to an otherwise humming personal life. We had places to go, and people to see. All of that stopped dead in its tracks when the moving train left the station. This is the perfect expression of economic externalities. There are hidden costs associated with moving, that don’t get fully priced in to the situation.

From a financial perspective, it’s easy to crunch the numbers on how much it will cost to move, how much your housing costs, and whether you’ll be spending more or less per month/over a year/over a decade. But, the actual moving process has hundreds of hours of wasted effort – just moving things from one place to another. People rarely consider that time spent in their calculations about whether they should move.

So, the solution is to move for reasons that have positive externalities. In our case, we moved onto a houseboat in the Columbia River. The view each morning and evening of the calming water, the shore across the river, and our new neighbors – the geese and egrets that hang around – all work together to offset the annoyances of moving.

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