The economist Steven Landsburg gave this definition for the “Indifference Principle.” “Except when people have unusual tastes or unusual talents, all activities must be equally desirable”  (from his book “The Armchair Economist”).

Two recent articles touch on this:

12 San Antonio companies that have been named best places to work each of the last 5 years: The San Antonio Business Journal has crowned these local employers multiple times from KSAT.

San Antonio dramatically drops on U.S. News & World Report’s best places to live by Sarah Martinez of mysanantonio.com. (We fell to No. 75, a 34-point drop from 2020 when San Antonio ranked No. 41)

For the first one on best places to work, the article says:

“Here are a few characteristics that come across multiple times across many of the repeat best places to work companies:

  • Care for their employees first, which translates to excellent customer service for their respective customers
  • Team engagement through fun family or company-wide outings or even through online platforms throughout the pandemic
  • Employee recognition programs
  • Periodical “State of the Company” addresses by upper-management
  • Employee bonuses
  • Focus on professional development and education initiatives such as tuition reimbursement or attendance to go conferences or workshops
  • Free food or goodies in the office or delivered to their house
  • Health-focused programs and incentives
  • Laying out specific strategic goals and providing consistent yearly reviews for employees”

Having all those benefits and programs certainly makes a business a great place for employees. But if that is so, then more people will start applying for jobs there. The company could then start offering lower salaries and the workers end up paying for it. There would be a cost that offsets those extra benefits. Potential job seekers then would be indifferent between getting a job at one of these “best places” and a job at a company not listed.

Same with the second article (“The publication considered data related to affordability, quality of life, job prospects, and other factors to determine its ranking.”)

If a city has a high quality of life, then more people want to move there. But that raises prices (like housing, for instance). Then it costs more to get those extra benefits from the quality of life. As more people come here, prices keep rising and eventually all the extra benefits are completely offset by the higher cost of living). Maybe it is not a surprise that San Antonio fell in the rankings.

Related posts:

San Antonio cracks top 25 on U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Places to Live”

What Is Is the Richest City in America?

North Dakota Is Number One! 

Can Some Places Really Be The “Best” Places To Retire To? 

The Top Budget Vacation Spot Is…Austin, Texas!?

There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch (Or A Free Concert)

America’s Most Affordable Places to Retire 

The 10 Most Affordable Housing Markets


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Author Of this post: Cyril Morong
Title Of post: The Indifference Principle Comes To San Antonio
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