Policy toolkit

A resource for policymakers

Cities that Work is bringing together the insights of researchers, policymakers and practitioners across four policy themes:

  • Urban land use
  • Housing and infrastructure
  • Firms and employment in cities
  • Municipal finance and urban governance

Use the navigation menu on the left to access current content.


We will soon be publishing more policy-focused synthesis content. In the meantime, we have put together a short list of what we’re currently reading below.

Urban land use:

Housing and infrastructure:

Firms and employment in cities:

  • Urbanisation without industrialisation – Douglas Gollin, Rémi Jedwab and Dietrich Vollrath explore how the historical link between urbanisation and industrialisation in Western and East Asian economies no longer applies in many low-income countries. Instead these countries have seen the rise of ‘consumption cities’ rather than ‘production cities’ based on natural resource rents.
  • African urbanisation: An analytic policy guide – Paul Collier on cities as engines of growth, and the necessary ingredients for different types of scale and specialisation.

Municipal finance and urban governance:

  • The political economy of property tax reform – Enid Slack and Richard Bird examine the political and economic challenges of property tax reform, and outline promising approaches for success – including linking these taxes to public services – with case studies from five OECD countries.
  • Governing Lagos: Unlocking the Politics of Reform – Diana De Gramont looks at civil service and municipal revenue reform that has unleashed a positive cycle of revenue generation and effective public service delivery in Lagos city.
  • Financing fast-growing cities – In this IGC growth brief, Astrid Haas and Paul Collier outline how city authorities can expand local revenue sources to finance functioning cities.