Potholes and Personal Cost


Ezra Klein likes the Google SuperBowl ad. As he notes, they have many of them in the same vein…the total production of which probably cost less than securing the Super Bowl spot itself…but the price of the spot is about leveraging the value created by the ad, which I think Google does successfully. In any case, Klein posts one that pertains to domestic government policy:

This ad raises the question…pot holes aren’t the hardest things in the world to fix…and they require the use of very few specialized tools and materials. Why is there such a high personal cost involved in seeking to get pot holes repaired? Or to get a better pothole repair policy? Well…because roads are government owned, and government has little incentive to maintain them, at the margin. Seems to me that the private sector could perform these repairs much more efficiently…but who would?

Reminds me of an old post by Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution, perhaps there could be a chicken in every pot(hole):

Don’t be surprised if you see Col. Sanders out filling potholes. In an unusual cause-marketing push, KFC is tackling the pothole problem in Louisville, Ky. in exchange for stamping the fresh pavement with “Re-freshed by KFC,” a chalky stencil likely to fade away in the next downpour.

For some reason, these advertising initiatives are very unpopular with local governments.

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