Edward Glaeser

Ed Glaeser is a Research Programme Director for the IGC’s Cities Research Programme.

He is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard University, where he also serves as Director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston. He also edits The Quarterly Journal of Economics. He studies the economics of cities, and has written several papers on urban issues, including the growth of cities, segregation, crime and housing markets. He is particularly interested in the role that geographic proximity can play in creating knowlegde and innovation.  He received his BA in Economics from Princeton University and his PhD from the University of Chicago (1992).

In 2011, Glaeser published a book, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier and Happier which was shortlisted for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.

Content by Edward Glaeser
  • Publication - Synthesis paper

    Secure, legally enforceable and marketable land rights for urban development

    This Cities that Work paper first outlines why secure, legally enforceable and marketable land rights play such a pivotal role in urban development. Section 2 discusses the trade-offs associated with different tenure systems, both formal and informal. Whilst there can be strong benefits in formalising land rights, processes of formalisation need to be underpinned by...

    31 Aug 2017 | Paul Collier, Edward Glaeser, Tony Venables, Michael Blake, Priya Manwaring

  • Publication - Synthesis paper

    Land and property taxes for municipal finance

    This Cities that Work paper explores why land and physical properties represent the largest source of untapped municipal revenue. Alongside their potential to raise significant public revenues, land and property taxes are also fairer and more efficient than other forms of tax. They have limited effects on urban investment, and allow governments to capture increases in land...

    31 Aug 2017 | Paul Collier, Edward Glaeser, Tony Venables, Michael Blake, Priya Manwaring

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Land and property taxes: Exploiting untapped municipal revenues

    Part of our Cities that Work publications, this brief outlines the importance of annual land and property tax as a source of municipal finance and explores trade-offs that policymakers face in implementing reform. It also identifies examples of best practice for reform from cities across the developing world.

    31 Aug 2017 | Paul Collier, Edward Glaeser, Tony Venables, Priya Manwaring, Michael Blake

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Ed Glaeser public lecture: Making cities work in the developing world

    Ed Glaeser, research director of IGC’s cities programme, gives a public lecture about the importance of cities for development and the need for policy to tackle the downsides of density. He also introduces IGC's new research and policy initiative Cities that Work.

    12 Jun 2017

  • Publication - Policy Brief

    Urban density, trust, and knowledge sharing in Lusaka, Zambia

    15 May 2017 | Nava Ashraf, Calvin Chiu, Alexia Delfino, Edward Glaeser, Nicholas Swanson

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Ed Glaeser: Five lessons for urban policy

    Professor Ed Glaeser outlines five key lessons for policymakers in developing countries who want to implement effective urban policies. These ideas are part of the IGC's 'Cities that Work' initiative.

    14 Mar 2017

  • Project

    Evidence to inform the JKN health insurance programme: Analysis and collection of GIS data

    Advances in computer vision have made it possible to train predictive algorithms on both structured and unstructured features of image data sets. With good predictive algorithms and robust image data, we can hope to extrapolate even relatively small samples of income or survey data over large areas.  In recent work, we have used Google Street View imagery to develop...

    27 Oct 2016 | Benjamin Olken, Edward Glaeser, Rema Hanna, Nikhil Naik, Scott Kominers

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Building effective & functioning cities

    Ed Glaeser, IGC research programme director, explains why cities are the best pathway to prosperity and outlines three lessons from over 30 years of economics research on urbanisation.

    18 Oct 2016

  • Project

    Growing together: trust, spontaneous clusters, and the growth of micro, small, and medium enterprises in cities

    The rapid growth of cities in the African continent provides a new opportunity for the spread of innovative ideas and creates the conditions for the accumulation of social capital through repeated interactions. Urban density and social proximity can foster cooperation in the provision of public goods and the creation of win-win solutions which relax the economic constraints...

    6 Jul 2016 | Edward Glaeser, Nava Ashraf, Alexia Delfino

  • Project

    Infrastructure, incentives and institutions

    Expensive infrastructure is ineffective if it doesn't travel the last mile. In nineteenth-century New York and modern Zambia, disease spread when urbanites chose not to use newly built sanitation infrastructure to save money. Either subsidies or Pigouvian fines can internalise the externalities that occur when people don't use sanitation infrastructure, but with weak...

    23 Jun 2016 | Nava Ashraf, Edward Glaeser, Giacomo Ponzetto

  • Publication - Project Memo

    Scoping study on Urbanisation in Zambia (Project Memo)

    9 Feb 2016 | Edward Glaeser, Nava Ashraf

  • Project

    Water connections in urban Zambia: Measuring the private and social benefits of water

    The rapid growth of cities on the African continent brings tremendous economic potential, facilitating the spread of innovation, industry and education. However, this promise is blighted by significant negative externalities associated with big city density, including congestion and contagious disease. There is a view among urban economists that one of the most...

    14 Aug 2015 | Edward Glaeser, Nava Ashraf, Bryce Steinberg, Abraham Holland

  • Multimedia Item - Audio

    IGC cities research group 2015: Ed Glaeser

    22 Jun 2015

  • Multimedia Item - Video

    Ed Glaeser: The Happiness of Cities

    20 May 2015

  • Publication - Growth Brief

    Growth brief: Contagion, crime, and congestion - overcoming the downsides of density

    With rapid urbanisation in the developing world comes contagion, crime, and congestion. Overcoming these is one of the great policy challenges of the 21st century. This brief outlines why these issues are so important to the prosperity of cities and discusses ways to tackle them, providing useful lessons for policymakers. It also identifies opportunities for...

    19 May 2015 | Edward Glaeser, Helen Dempster

  • Project

    Scoping study on Urbanisation in Zambia

    Urbanisation in Zambia has the potential to help the country to grow from poverty into prosperity Researchers met with about 50 different stakeholders to understand the country’s urbanisation challenges With the support of the Zambian government, two urbanisation projects were commissioned from this visit Developing countries are rapidly urbanising...

    17 Apr 2015 | Edward Glaeser, Nava Ashraf