You dig your car out of the snow, run an errand or two and come back home to discover…someone else has parked in “your” spot! This free rider problem reduces your incentive to dig your car out in the first place. If only property rights could be enforced, your incentives would be good. It turns out that Bostonians have solved this problem:
Cold-weather cities like Boston, however, have gone so far as to enact laws on the subject. The Post reports that in Boston, “a city law says that if you dig out your car in a snow emergency, a lawn chair or trash can renders the spot yours for at least two days while you’re away at work.”
The Windy City is relying on social norms instead:
In Chicago, the article adds, citizens cannot legally block a parking spot but even city officials acknowledge an “informal rule of dibs” in favor of the person who has dug out the spot.
Hat Tip: Andrew Ellis, job candidate from B.U.