The Economic Geography Cluster integrates spatial and urban economists with more institutionally-oriented economic geographers. It has established an international reputation for economic geography, regional and urban economics. Research across the cluster is anchored in a shared culture and core research values, which place strong emphasis on theoretically-informed, policy-relevant and evidence-based research. Regardless of individual approach cluster members strongly believe that economic geography as a sub-discipline has to engage with rigorous research emanating both from mainstream economics and from more institutional/social perspectives. The emphasis on 'economic' logics as a crucial element differentiates the group from most other economic geography groups in the UK and elsewhere. As a result, the cluster has become a key player in facilitating interaction between economic geography, as practiced by geographers, and a resurgent geographical economics, as practiced by economists.
Substantively the cluster has largely been concerned with the traditional economic geography issues of regional and urban development, spatial inequality, location of economic activity, innovation, agglomeration, and labour market outcomes. Geographically, while there is a strong focus on the UK and Europe, cluster members have worldwide interests (including, recently, for China, Brazil, India and the US). Methodologically it has concentrated on applying and developing quantitative approaches to economic geography, as well as pushing the boundaries of the discipline in areas such as the New Economic Geography and the impact of institutions on economic development. A related focus, reflecting the Department's longstanding planning interests, is in property markets, their regulation and the relation to environmental externalities/public goods (e.g. education and crime) and underlying urban economic theory. The members of the cluster have been successful in publishing in the top scholarly journals in both Geography and Economics, as well as in the very best field journals.
The international standing of the cluster has been recognised in a number of ways. It hosts the Spatial Economics Research Centre (co-financed by the ESRC, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Welsh Government) and the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth (co-financed by the ESRC and the Departments for Business, Innovation and Skills and Communities and Local Government). In addition, its members have been awarded a number of prestigious prizes, including a major European Research Council Starting Grant, a European Investment Bank-European Regional Science Prize – the highest accolade for any regional scientist – a Doctorate honoris causa, a Leverhulme Foundation Major Research Fellowship, two Philip Leverhulme Prizes, a Royal Society-Wolfson Merit Award, and a number of prizes for the best papers published in scholarly journals.
Members of the cluster have also played key roles as advisers and consultants to numerous international organisations, government departments and the private sector including the European Commission, the OECD, the World Bank, Regional Development Banks and various UN agencies; the Bank of England Residential Property Forum, Department for Business, Innovation and Science, Department for Communities and Local Government, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Department for International Development, Department for Transport and HM Treasury; the English Regional Development Agencies and their successors the Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Greater London Assembly, Local Authorities including in particular Birmingham, Cambridge, Manchester and Newcastle; McKinsey and Co.
The Economic Geography cluster integrates spatial and urban economists with more institutionally-oriented economic geographers, focussing on economic geography, regional and urban economics.
Dr Olmo Silva
Associate Professor of Real Estate Economics & Finance
Doctoral students in the Economic Geography cluster regularly go on to work in leading academic and public research institutions, as well as international organisations, the private/consultancy sector, and governmental institutions.
Current PhD students in the Economic Geography cluster are shown below. Specific research interests can be found on each student's profile page.