Why we have malls in American

Reporting | The New Yorker

What Congress did in 1954, in an attempt to stimulate investment in manufacturing, was to “accelerate” the depreciation process for new construction. … In the first few years after a shopping center was built, the depreciation deductions were so large that the mall was almost certainly losing money, at least on paper—which brought with it enormous tax benefits ….

Suddenly it was possible to make much more money investing in things like shopping centers than buying stocks, so money poured into real-estate investment companies.