Doom Loop or Boom Loop

Doom Loop or Boom Loop: Work from Home and the Challenges Facing America’s Big Cities,” coauthored by Richard Voith, David Stanek, and Hyojin Lee, is part of the Volcker Alliance’s series on state and local budgeting in the COVID era. The paper addresses the significant impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which spurred a massive shift to remote work, leading to potential “Doom Loop” scenarios characterized by vacant offices, diminished business districts, and fiscal challenges.

The paper explores how cities like New York, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, and San Francisco can navigate these challenges. It highlights the risks of declining urban agglomeration and its estimated economic loss, using New York as a case study, where the annual economic return loss could reach $17.2 billion.

However, the paper also discusses the potential for a “Boom Loop,” where cities can thrive through effective policies that harness the benefits of remote work. Recommendations include leveraging lower costs of WFH, fostering in-person work innovation, and enhancing transportation networks to maintain physical accessibility. These insights are crucial for policymakers aiming to ensure urban vitality in the post-pandemic era.

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