Dude, Who Will Shovel My Snow?
By Bryan Caplan
In my neighborhood, many households would pay unskilled workers $30/hour or more to shovel snow. I would, that’s for sure. But no one comes door-to-door offering these services. The obvious explanation is that (a) teens are the only unskilled workers in my affluent neighborhood, (b) these teens don’t need to do hard manual labor to make money, and (c) that the snow limits the influx of unskilled labor – teen or adult – from less affluent areas.
Questions: Does anyone live in or know of neighborhoods with an obviously positive equilibrium quantity of snow shoveling services? If so, what are their characteristics? Does anyone remember what this market looked like in earlier decades? If the snow shoveling market dried up, what exactly happened?