Allentown

Media Type: Music Topic: Economic Crisis, The Business Cycle

Billy Joel

To listen to this song, click here.

Billy Joel laments the loss of the way things were in Allentown. At one time it was a boom town, but now "they've taken all the coal from the ground." Assume that the presence of coal is the primary reason Allentown exists at all (like mining towns in the old west). (See here for a more complex history of Allentown). If coal and water access for easy shipping brought people flooding to the area upon its initial discovery, why don't people leave as quickly as they came once the coal is gone? Which do you think will decline faster: population or housing prices? Why? Based on your answer, can it be utility maximizing to stay in a declining city?

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