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2014: 2nd Urbanization and Poverty Reduction Conference

The world is urbanizing rapidly, with cities today concentrating more than half the world’s population. While it is widely accepted that urbanization and economic development go hand in hand, the expansion of cities gives rise to both opportunities and challenges, with countries urbanizing in different ways. Urbanization has been occurring at different times and in different places, and some countries have concentrated the urban populations in a few mega-cities, while others have spread the urban population across many smaller towns. Current patterns of urbanization in developing countries raise a number of challenges such as accompanying structural transformation, providing infrastructure, managing urban spatial expansion, addressing externalities in congestion and pollution, and building effective institutions.

Rémi Jedwab

Assistant Professor of Economics
Rémi Jedwab is an assistant professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Elliott School and the Department of Economics of George Washington University. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the Paris School of Economics. He was also a visiting Ph.D. student at the London School of Economics for three years. Professor Jedwab's main field of research is urban economics, though his work also has strong development economics, public economics/political economy and economic history themes. Some of the issues he has studied include urbanization and structural transformation, the economic effects of transportation infrastructure, and agricultural and economic development in Africa. His research has been published in the American Economic Review, the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Economic Journal and the Journal of Economic Growth. Recently, Professor Jedwab research areas have included the phenomenon of urbanization without economic growth, and his research has been highlighted by The Atlantic's CityLab and the Boston Globe.

Somik V. Lall

Lead Economist, The World Bank
Somik V. Lall is a Lead Economist for Urban Development at the World Bank's Urban Development and Resilience Unit in the Sustainable Development Network. He is the lead author of a World Bank report on urbanization "Planning, Connecting, and Financing Cities Now: Priorities for City Leaders." He was a core team member of the 2009 World Development Report "Reshaping Economic Geography", and recently Senior Economic Counsellor to the Indian Prime Minister's National Transport Development Policy Committee. Somik currently leads a World Bank program on the Urbanization Reviews, which provides diagnostic tools and a policy framework for policymakers to manage rapid urbanization and city development. His research interests span urban and spatial economics, infrastructure development, and public finance.

Danny M. Leipziger

Professor of International Business, GWU and Managing Director, The Growth Dialogue
Danny Leipziger is Professor of International Business, George Washington University, Managing Director, the Growth Dialogue, and an IIEP affiliate faculty member. He is former Vice President of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network (2004–09) at the World Bank. Over the course of his 28-year career at the World Bank, he has held management positions in the East Asia Region and the Latin America and Caribbean Region as well as in the World Bank Institute. Prior to joining the Bank, Dr. Leipziger served in senior positions at the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of State. He also has been a Vice Chair of the independent Commission on Growth and Development (2006-2010). He has published widely on topics of development economics and finance, industrial policy, and banking, including books on Korea, Chile, and East Asia and recent volumes Globalization and Growth (with Michael Spence) and Stuck in the Middle (with Antonio Estache) and the most recent – Ascent after Decline: Regrowing Global Economies after the Great Recession (with Otaviano Canuto).

Harris Selod

Senior Economist, The World Bank
Harris Selod is a Senior Economist with the Development Research Group of the World Bank. His current research focuses on urban development, including issues related to transport and land use, as well as land tenure, land markets and the political economy of the land sector in developing countries, with a specific interest in West Africa. His publications cover a variety of topics in urban and public economics including theories of squatting and residential informality, the political economy of transport infrastructure, the effects of residential segregation on schooling and unemployment, or the impact of land rights formalization and place-based policies. He has been chair of the World Bank’s Land Policy and Administration Thematic Group (2011-2013) and is currently leading a World Bank research program on transport.

Jay Shambaugh

Director, Institute for International Economic Policy
Jay Shambaugh's area of research is macroeconomics and international economics. His work includes analysis of the interaction of exchange rate regimes with monetary policy, capital flows, and trade flows as well as studies of international reserves holdings, country balance sheet exchange rate exposure, the cross-country impact of fiscal policy, and the current crisis in the euro area. In addition to his book, Exchange Rate Regimes in the Modern Era (MIT Press, 2009), Shambaugh has published in The American Economic Review, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, and other leading journals. Prior to joining the faculty at George Washington, Shambaugh taught at Georgetown and Dartmouth and served as first Senior Economist for International Economics and then Chief Economist at the White House Council of Economic Advisers. He is also a Faculty Research Fellow at the NBER and a visiting scholar at the IMF. Shambaugh received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.A. from the Fletcher School at Tufts, and a B.A. from Yale University.

Keynote Speakers

Edward Glaeser

Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, Harvard

Edward Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard, where he also serves as Director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston. He studies the economics of cities, and has written scores of articles on urban issues, including the growth of cities, segregation, crime, and housing markets. He has been particularly interested in the role that geographic proximity can play in creating knowledge and innovation. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1992 and has been at Harvard since then.

Paul Romer

Professor of Economics, NYU Stern School of Business and Director of the Urbanization Project

Paul Romer, an economist and policy entrepreneur, is University Professor at NYU and director of the Marron Institute of Urban Management. He is also the founding director of the Urbanization Project at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project. The Urbanization Project conducts applied research on the many ways in which policymakers in the developing world can use the rapid growth of cities to create economic opportunity and undertake systemic social reform. Before coming to NYU, Paul taught at Stanford's Graduate School of Business. While there, Paul took an entrepreneurial detour to start Aplia, an education technology company dedicated to increasing student effort and classroom engagement. Paul serves on the board of trustees for the Carnegie Endowment for the Advancement of Teaching. He is also a member of the board of directors for Community Solutions, a national not-for-profit dedicated to strengthening communities and ending homelessness. In 2002, he received the Recktenwald Prize for his work on the role of ideas in sustaining economic growth.

Other Speakers and Chairs

Paolo Avner

Urban Economist, Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice, The World Bank

Paolo Avner is an urban economist within the Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice of the World Bank. His current work focuses on the impacts of land use regulations and transport systems on the spatial development of African cities. Prior to joining the Bank, Paolo worked in France as a research engineer in LEPII in order to integrate the urban dimension into the worldwide energy prospective model POLES. He then joined the Center for International Research in Environment and Development (Paris) and collaborated to the development of an applied land use - transport interaction model (NEDUM 2D). His work specifically focused on the ability of public policies and investments to curb greenhouse gas emissions from urban transport while limiting the costs of these policies for urban residents. Paolo has graduated from La Sorbonne University and from University Paris X - Nanterre as an economist and is currently finishing his PhD at Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris.

Nathaniel Baum-Snow

Associate Professor of Economics and Urban Studies at Brown University

Nathaniel Baum-Snow is an Associate Professor of Economics and Urban Studies at Brown University. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago in 2005. Baum-Snow’s research investigates reasons for levels of and changes in the spatial organization of population and economic activity in urban areas. He has evaluated the roles that various types of transportation infrastructure have played in generating changes in urban form in the United States and China. Baum-Snow has also investigated the reasons why workers earn more and have more dispersed wages in larger cities and how these explanations help us to understand the productivity advantages of density. Other work investigates how racial interactions in school and low income housing have influenced urban change at metropolitan area and neighborhood spatial scales in the United States.

Maarten Bosker

Associate Professor at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam

Maarten Bosker is Associate Professor at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. His main research interests are economic geography, international economics, conflict studies, and economic history. Central to his research is trying to empirically unravel the importance of geography in urban and economic development. Recent papers focus on regional economic development in China, the historical evolution of the European urban landscape, and on the consequences of the increasingly international supply chains for countries' development perspectives. His work has been published in among others the Review of Economics and Statistics, the Journal of Development Economics and the Journal of Urban Economics.

Paul E. Carrillo

Associate Professor of Economics and International Affairs, George Washington University

Paul E. Carrillo is an Associate Professor of Economics and International Affairs at George Washington University. His research interests are in applied microeconomics including applications in urban economics and development economics. His research has been published and/or is forthcoming in leading academic such as Review of Economics and Statistics, International Economic Review, Regional Science and Urban Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Real Estate Economics, Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, and Journal of Housing Economics. He currently serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of Regional Science. Paul received his Ph.D. degree from the University of Virginia in 2006.

Quoc-Anh Do

Associate Professor of Economics at Sciences Po (Paris)

Quoc-Anh Do is an associate professor of economics at Sciences Po's (Paris) Department of Economics and the Interdisciplinary Research Centre for the Evaluation of Public Policies (LIEPP). His research deals with applied microeconomic questions in political economy, social networks and economic development. Some of his work has explored social preferences, political opinions and diversity policies in social networks; corruption and favoritism based on social links; and the interplay among corruption, conflict and the isolation of capital cities. Since obtaining his PhD at Harvard University, he has published on the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the American Economic Review, and the Journal of the European Economic Association.

Gilles Duranton

Professor of Real Estate, Wharton School

Gilles Duranton is professor of real estate and holds the Dean’s Chair in Real Estate. He joined the Wharton School in 2012 after holding academic positions at the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics. A graduate from HEC Paris and Sorbonne University, he obtained his PhD in economics jointly from the London School of Economics and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales in Paris. His research focuses on urban and transportation issues. His empirical work is concerned with urban growth and the estimation of the costs and benefits of cities and clusters. He is also interested in the effects of transportation infrastructure on urban development and the evaluation of local policies. He also conducts theoretical research to gain insight about the distribution of city sizes, the skill composition, and sectoral patterns of activities in cities.

Marianne Fay

Chief Economist, Climate Change Cross Cutting Solutions Area, World Bank

Marianne Fay is the Chief Economist of the Climate Change Cross Cutting Solutions Area of the World Bank. She co-directed the World Development Report 2010 on Development and Climate Change and led the World Bank report on Inclusive Green growth: the Pathway to Sustainable Development. She has held positions in different regions of the World Bank (Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa) working on infrastructure, urbanization and climate change. Prior to her current position, she served as the Chief Economist of the former Sustainable Development Network of the World Bank. She is the author of a number of articles and books on these topics. Marianne Fay holds a PhD in Economics from Columbia University.

Ejaz Ghani

Lead Economist, The World Bank

Ejaz Ghani, an Indian national, is Lead Economist in the Macroeconomics and Fiscal Global Practice, at the World Bank. He has worked on Africa, East Asia, South Asia, Corporate Strategy, and in the Independent Evaluation Unit, and has written on economic growth, macroeconomic policies, jobs, entrepreneurship, urbanization, gender, trade, decentralization, and agriculture. He has edited several books including Reshaping Tomorrow--Is South Asia Ready for the Big Leap?; The Poor Half Billion in South Asia; The Service Revolution in South Asia; Accelerating Growth and Job Creation in South Asia , Promoting Economic Cooperation in South Asia; and Growth and Regional Integration (with S. Ahmed). He has taught economics at Oxford University and Delhi University, and obtained an M. Phil. & D. Phil in Economics from Oxford University. He is an Inlaks scholar.

Pierre Guislain

Senior Director, Transport & ICT, The World Bank

Pierre Guislain is the Senior Director for the Transport and Information & Communications Technology (ICT) Global Practice at the World Bank Group, providing support to developing countries in improving their connectivity and competitiveness by linking people to markets, services and employment opportunities. He previously served as Director of the joint Bank-IFC-MIGA Investment Climate Department (CIC) and was Manager of the Bank’s Global Telecommunications and ICT Sector division.

Stéphane Hallegatte

Senior Economist, Climage Change Group, The World Bank

Stéphane Hallegatte is senior economist with the World Bank, in the office of the chief economist of the Climate Change Group. His work includes green growth and climate change mitigation strategies, urban economics, and climate change adaptation and disaster risk management. He is lead author of the IPCC for its fifth assessment report. He also co-led the World Bank report “Inclusive Green Growth” in 2012, and published dozen of articles and several books, including “Natural disasters and climate change – an economic perspective” in 2014. Stephane Hallegatte holds an engineering degree from the Ecole Polytechnique and a PhD in economics from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris.

Vernon Henderson

Professor of Economic Geography, London School of Economics

Vernon Henderson is a Professor of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics, and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He has been at Brown since 1974. His Ph.D. is from the University of Chicago and his B.A. from the University of British Columbia. He has conducted research on aspects of urbanization and local government finance and regulation in the USA, Brazil, Canada, India, China, Korea and Indonesia. . Besides the work on night lights, his current research examines urban land auctions conducted by the state in China, exclusionary ploicies of localities in Brazil resisting in-migration of low skill people, and the aid effort and recovery from the tsunami in 200 coastal villages in Aceh, Indonesia.

Marisela Montoliu Muñoz

Director, Urban and Disaster Risk Management; Social, Urban, Rural & Resilience Global Practice, The World Bank

Marisela Montoliu Muñoz is Director for the Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice at the World Bank Group, where she heads the Urban and Disaster Risk Management practices. She assumed this position on July 1, 2014, under a new institutional structure focused on ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity for the bottom 40 percent. As Director, Ms. Montoliu Muñoz leads the Practice’s engagement in urban, disaster risk management and regional planning, services and institutions, leveraging global knowledge and collaborating with partners to help mainstream resilience for sustainable development. Read More »

Diego Puga

Professor of Economics, CEMFI

Diego Puga is Professor of Economics at CEMFI, in Madrid, Spain. His research interests include urban economics, economic geography and international trade. Born in Spain, where he completed his undergraduate degree in Economics, Puga obtained his Ph.D. in Economics from the London School of Economics in 1997. In 2008 he received the Fundación Banco Herrero Prize (awarded annually to a Spanish researcher under the age of 40 for outstanding contributions to economics or social sciences). His research has been cited over 2,000 times in articles included in the Social Sciences Citation Index. He is also Co-Director of the International Trade and Regional Economics Programme of the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR). He previously held academic positions at the London School of Economics, the University of Toronto, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and IMDEA Social Sciences.

Sudhir Shetty

Chief Economist, East Asia and Pacific Region, The World Bank

Sudhir Shetty is currently Chief Economist of the East Asia and Pacific Region of the World Bank. Until June 2014, he was the Director of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management (PREM) in the East Asia and Pacific Region. Prior to that, he was Co-Director of the team that prepared the World Bank’s 2012 World Development Report on Gender Equality and Development. He previously headed the PREM department in the Africa Region of the World Bank, managed the Bank’s central Poverty Reduction group and held a number of positions as an economist in both the Africa and East Asia and Pacific regions of the Bank. Mr. Shetty has a Ph.D. in Economics from Cornell University and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. Before joining the Bank in 1987, Mr. Shetty was an Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Economics at Duke University.

Stephen C. Smith

Professor of Economics and International Affairs, George Washington University

Stephen C. Smith is Professor of Economics and International Affairs at George Washington University. Smith received his PhD in economics from Cornell University and has been a Fulbright Research Scholar and a Jean Monnet Research Fellow. Smith is also an IZA Research Fellow. He serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization. From 2009-2012, Smith served as Director of the Institute for International Economic Policy, where he helped create its four signature initiatives: climate adaptation in developing countries; extreme poverty; global economic governance; and the “G2 at GW” series. Smith has done on-site research and program work in several regions of the developing world including Bangladesh, China, Ecuador, India, Uganda, and Former Yugoslavia. Smith has also conducted extensive research on the economics of employee participation, including works councils, ESOPs, and labor cooperatives in developed and developing countries.


08.30-9.00: Coffee and Registration


09.00-09.10: Welcoming Remarks
Marisela Montoliu Muñoz (World Bank, Director, Urban and Disaster Risk Management; Social, Urban, Rural & Resilience Global Practice)

09.10-10.30: Keynote Addresses
Edward Glaeser (Harvard, Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics) and Paul Romer (Professor of Economics, NYU Stern School of Business and Director of the Urbanization Project)

Presentation 1: Cities in the Developing World (Edward Glaeser)
Presentation 2: The Power of the Grid (Paul Romer)


Chair: Sudhir Shetty (World Bank, Chief Economist, East Asia and Pacific Region)
Discussant: Somik Lall (World Bank, Lead Economist, Urban, Rural and Social Development)

10.30-10.55: Malthusian Dynamics and the Rise of the Poor Megacity, Remi Jedwab (George Washington University)

10.55-11.20: Has Climate Change Promoted Urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa? Vernon Henderson (LSE)

11.20-11.45: Allocative Efficiency of Land and Other Factors of Production in India, Gilles Duranton (Wharton)

11.45-12.00: Questions/discussion with audience

12.00-13.00: Lunch


Chair: Pierre Guislain (World Bank, Senior Director, Transportation & ICT)
Discussant: Diego Puga (Center for Monetary and Financial Studies)

13.00-13.25: Transportation and Urban Growth in Chinese Cities, Nathaniel Baum-Snow (Brown)

13.25-13.50: Highway to Success in India: The impact of the golden quadrilateral project for the location and performance of manufacturing, Ejaz Ghani (The World Bank)

13.50-14.15: Hukou and Highways: The Impact of China’s Spatial Development Policies on Urbanization and Regional Inequality, Maarten Bosker (Erasmus)

14.15-14.30: Questions/discussion with audience

14.30-14.45: Coffee Break


Chair: Danny Leipziger (The Growth Dialogue)
Discussant: Paolo Avner (World Bank, Urban Economist, Social, Urban, Rural & Resilience Global Practice)

14.45-15.10: Capital Cities, Conflict, and Misgovernance: Theory and Evidence, Quoc-Anh Do (Sciences Po)

15.10-15.35: Urbanization and Property Rights, Harris Selod (World Bank)

15.35-16.00: Driving Restrictions that Work? Quito’s Pico y Placa Program, Paul Carillo (George Washington University)

16.00-16.15: Questions/discussion with audience

16.15-16.30: Coffee Break


Chair and Closing Remarks: Marisela Montoliu Muñoz (World Bank, Director, Urban and Disaster Risk Management; Social, Urban, Rural & Resilience Global Practice)

Panelists: Gilles Duranton (Wharton), Vernon Henderson (London School of Economics), Marianne Fay (World Bank), Diego Puga (CEMFI), Paul Romer (New York University)


Cocktail reception and welcome speech by Stephen Smith (George Washington University) and Danny Leipziger (The Growth Dialogue) at George Washington University.

The Buzz in Cities: New Economic Thinking (The Growth Dialogue)

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