Conference: IGC cities research group

Past Event London, UK From to Cities

The IGC Cities research programme held a conference from Thursday 21 – Friday 22 May 2015 at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), led by Edward Glaeser, an IGC Cities Research Programme Director.

The conference showcased the best current work on cities and development, and provided a forum in which leading academics and policymakers could come together to set an agenda for future research.

Day 1 (Thursday 21 May)

Leading researchers presented seven academic papers, concerning cities and urbanisation in developing countries. These papers are listed below:

Time Paper Presenter
0830-0930 “Creative destruction: Barriers to urban growth and the great Boston fire of 1872” Richard Hornbeck (Harvard University and NBER)
0930-1030 “Location, search costs and youth unemployment: A randomized trial of transport subsidies in Ethiopia” Simon Franklin (Oxford University)
1100-1200 “Economic development and the spatial allocation of labour: Evidence from Indonesia” Gharad Bryan (LSE)
1200-1300 “Shelter from the storm: Upgrading housing infrastructure in Latin American slums” Sebastian Galiani (University of Maryland)
1400-1430 “Political Economy of Cities” Abhijit Banerjee (MIT)
1430-1530 “Cities in bad shape: Urban geometry in India” Mariaflavia Harari (MIT)
1530-1630 “Transport infrastructure, urban growth and market access in China” Matthew Turner (Brown University)
1700-1800 “The geography of development: Evaluating migration restrictions and coastal flooding” Klaus Desmet (Southern Methodist University)
1800-1930 Expert panel discussion: Methods, experiments, and data Nathaniel Baum-Snow (Brown University)
Marcel Fafchamps (Stanford University)
Stephen Redding (Princeton University)

 Day 2 (Friday 22 May)

Time Paper Presenter
0830-1030 Expert panel discussion: South Asia Giles Duranton (Wharton, University of Pennsylvania)
Mushfiq Mobarak (Yale School of Management)
Ijaz Nabi (Pakistan and IGC)
Taibur Rahman (Bangladesh)
1100-1300 Expert panel discussion: Africa Vernon Henderson (LSE)
Alexander Moradi (University of Sussex)
Tony Venables (University of Oxford)
Hugh Wenban-Smith (Independent researcher)
Mayor Sam Gibson (Sierra Leone)
Robert Kyukyu (Uganda)
1400-1600 Expert panel discussion: Public finance and urban growth Tim Besley (LSE)
David Albouy (University of Illinois)
Adnan Khan (IGC)
Mihaly Kopanyi (World Bank)
Meembo Changula (Zambia)
1630-1830 Expert panel discussion: Threats to urban life Nava Ashraf (Harvard Business School)
Rudiger Ahrend (OECD)
Edward Glaeser (Harvard University)
Esteban Rossi-Hansberg (Princeton University)
Guy Michaels (LSE)


The expert panel discussions brought together a range of leading academics and policymakers to discuss African and Asian urbanisation issues, public finance and urban growth, and threats to urban life. The panels consisted of short research presentations, before a more general discussion of the key themes, and the way forward for policy and research.

Please find below a final programme.