Place matters: unlocking the growing global puzzle of inequality

Harvard Lecture Theatre Room 223 Alan Walters Building
Wednesday 1 May 2019 (17:00-18:00)

Across the globe, the sense of growing economic inequality is becoming a common theme in the media, in politics, and on the streets. This theme is also having major effects on key political crossroads, such as the twin “surprises” of 2016’s Brexit and US presidential votes. Books on the previously back-burner subject have become bestsellers.

By its nature, inequality manifests itself most clearly in economics, and most visibly in its division such as those between “successful” regions like the Silicon Valley and struggling areas undergoing deindustrialization. Yet mainstream economic analysis has long overlooked geography as a crucial foundation for understanding both individual-level microeconomic decisions and national-level macroeconomics outcomes. Including the notion of place offers unique insights into household- and business-level opportunities, challenges, and choices, and naturally links such choices in geographic aggregates to macroeconomic outcomes, such as innovation, productivity, income, and job growth as well as their distribution.

This lecture will explore the recent renaissance of economic geography and regional science in terms of its origins, current trajectories, and future prospects, as well as what universities can do to maximize their role improving the circumstances for those left behind. 

About the speaker

Stephan Weiler is currently Fulbright Distinguished Research Chair at City-REDI. He is also the Director of REDI@CSU, a research institute based at Colorado State University which aims to understand, analyse, and inform economic development strategies, particularly in struggling regions in both rural and urban areas, especially in Colorado. He holds the William E. Morgan Endowed Chair as Professor of Economics at Colorado State University. Stephan’s research, teaching and mentoring have spanned a variety of development and labour market issues in Africa, Appalachia, Europe, and the American West. His current work focuses on regional economic growth and development, particularly in rural and inner-city areas, combining theoretical, empirical, and policy analyses on topics such as information, innovation, industrial restructuring, land use, public/private partnerships, immigration, entrepreneurship, and the environment. 

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