June 2014 Issue of the NARSC Newsletter

We proudly present the June 2014 issue of the NARSC newsletter. The June 2014 edition of the newsletter features thought pieces on Open Regional Science. The centerpiece of these pieces is a condensed version of Sergio Rey’s Western Regional Science Association (WRSA) presidential address, which was well received and stimulated thoughtful debate. Erik Heikkila, Dani Arribas-Bel, and Roger Bivand were kind enough to contribute reflection pieces on the presidential address.

In addition to these thought pieces, the newsletter features a piece from Douglas Wrenn on shale development and employment in the Northeast. We also include profiles of two junior faculty members from the Northeastern region – Douglas Wrenn (Penn St.) and Nathan Yang (Yale). Michael Carroll, the editor of Regional Science Policy and Practice, has provided a piece that profiles the journal.

Any questions or comments concerning the newsletter can be directed to the editors, Liz Mack or Ralph McLaughlin.

NARSC Newsletter, June 2014
NARSC Newsletter, December 2013
NARSC Newsletter, June 2013

Peter Hall (1932-2014)

The North American Regional Science Council was saddened to hear of the death of Professor Peter Hall. Professor Hall developed the concept of enterprise zones while working with the Thatcher administration in the late 1970s, working closely with the prime minister’s officials to develop such zones in cities throughout England.

Source: Graham Turner, Guardian News & Media, Aug 6, 2014

The New York Times obituary can be accessed here.

Job Opportunity: Social Science Research Methodologist, Project Mosaic, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Project Mosaic, a social science research initiative of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, is seeking applicants to serve as our Research Methodologist. The mission of Project Mosaic is to enhance social, behavioral, and economic science research at UNC Charlotte. In support of this mission, Project Mosaic provides an intellectual collaborative community that connects social science researchers with a broader community of scholars.  Project Mosaic also fosters the creation of interdisciplinary research teams in social sciences.  In addition, Project Mosaic provides research support to investigators in the areas of collaborative planning, development and design of research projects, research design, and analysis.

Required qualifications:

  • ABD status in a social science discipline (such as sociology, economics, geography, political science, psychology, criminal justice, communication studies, or related fields like public policy, public health, education assessment); consideration will also be given to scholars in other technical fields (e.g., statistics or information sciences) who demonstrate a keen knowledge of social science research.
  • A deep background in quantitative social science methods, data management, and analytical techniques.
  • A working knowledge of leading data analysis software.

Desired qualifications:

  • A doctoral degree at the time of the appointment.
  • Experience instructing others in research methods.
  • Familiarity with geographic information systems, Census data, survey methods, big data social science methods.

Primary job responsibilities consist of developing and leading on-campus programs and initiatives to support and enhance methodological skills and tools enabling social scientists to conduct cutting edge research. Building on a solid understanding of evolving trends in data-intensive social science research, such a computational social science and big data social science, the Research Methodologist is expected to act as a consultant to social scientists at UNC Charlotte on matters of research design and methods of data analysis, offer regular instructional workshops on methodological topics of interest to social science researchers, work closely with the Director and staff to design new initiatives to advance the research mission of Project Mosaic, serve as a liaison with statisticians and computer scientists, manage and supervise a small team of graduate research consultants, join collaborative and multi-disciplinary research teams to seek external funding, and conduct innovative social science research in an area(s) of specialization.

This is a non-tenure track position. The initial appointment will be for one year (9/1/2014 – 6/30/2015) with possibility for renewal. Appointment is subject to Criminal Background Check. The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is an AA/EOE and an ADVANCE institution that strives to create an academic climate in which the dignity of all individuals is respected and maintained. It values diversity that includes age, culture, ethnicity, gender, language, race, religion, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.  The University is dedicated to the goal of building a culturally diverse faculty and staff committed to working in a multicultural environment and strongly encourages applications from women, minorities, veterans, individuals with disabilities and other underrepresented groups.

Review of applications begins August 4, 2014 and will continue until the position is filled. Applications must be made electronically at https://jobs.uncc.edu and must include: 1) letter of application describing research interests, experiences with research design and methods of data analysis, and teaching philosophy, 2) a full curriculum vita, 3) samples of writing or publications and 4) three letters of recommendations.

We encourage prospective candidates to review our web site (ProjectMosaic@uncc.edu) prior to applying. For additional information, contact Dr. Jean-Claude Thill, Director of Project Mosaic, at 704-687-5909 or Jean-Claude.Thill@uncc.edu.

Job Opportunity: Postdoctoral Research Position, Applied Microeconomics, Penn State and Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD)

The Pennsylvania State University and the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development (NERCRD) are seeking to fill a postdoctoral research position in the area of applied microeconomics beginning August 2014. The position is for a 12-month appointment with the prospect of a 6 month extension, pending other funding outcomes. The postdoctoral researcher is expected to conduct research contributing to two ongoing publicly funded research projects. The first is a multidisciplinary project investigating how food production, distribution and consumption in the Northeastern U.S. can increase the availability of “healthy” and affordable foods to low-income consumers in the Region. The second includes an assessment of how operating costs and scale economies influence market prices and spatial equilibrium of fresh produce sourced from different U.S. and international regions in response to a large scale increase in produce demand. The research that will be performed in both of these projects may examine different levels of the food supply chain and require expertise which may range from the estimation of consumer food demand to general equilibrium or mathematical programming modeling. The analysis of consumer demand will comprise the bulk of the work and focus on the estimation of demand systems for a selected number of food categories among low-income and non-low income households in the Northeastern United States using large scanner datasets. The analysis of food supply chains will require the use of mathematical programming optimization models based on information theory, and a spatial equilibrium model of intra-industry trade integrated in an interregional, multimodal commodity flows data system. These tasks will be performed in collaboration with personnel at Penn State as well as at other partner institutions participating in the above mentioned projects.

The successful candidate will be asked to initially assist with ongoing research, and then successively to take more of a lead role in shaping the direction of future research in the projects. Although the work plans for these projects are largely planned out, opportunities for modifying and/or redirecting aspects of these plans will be welcomed. This position will provide opportunities to learn and apply advanced empirical quantitative modeling skills, and to write research reports for professional meetings, journal publication, and for official government research reports. On the job training and technical/database administrative support will be provided. Research and analysis will be a team activity. Several important, but not necessarily required skill sets will be beneficial to applicants for this position. Those skill sets include knowledge of demand analysis models, familiarity working with large databases, Simulated Maximum Likelihood estimation techniques, economic geography, mixed integer linear and nonlinear mathematical programming, applied general equilibrium modeling, literacy in (some of) the following software packages Matlab, GAMS, STATA, SAS, R, SQL server and the ability to work in team setting and to communicate research findings across disciplines. Demonstrated familiarity in these areas will be viewed favorably when assessing candidates for this position.

The successful candidate should have completed a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics, or related field, by the time of employment. Preliminary interviews will take place at the AAEA meetings in Minneapolis, MN July 27-29, 2014.

To apply for the position, follow the link below.


Job Opportunity: Post Doctoral Researcher, Agriculture, Environmental and Development Economic, Ohio State University

Post Doctoral Research (OSU description) working with Prof. Partridge and Prof. Faggian (AED Economics department)

$3,909 per month – $46,908 per year
Job Code 6504
Position # 00058861
Begin date 9/1/2014
Funding:  Swank 11140-247091

Function Statement

Works for The Ohio State University Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics and the Swank Program in Rural-Urban policy on an energy related project; experience or a willingness to learn economic modelling for measuring regional and urban economic impacts; develops economic models, geographic information system (GIS) databases, and computer econometric programs for analyzing population and employment dynamics for North America and Ohio; coordinates economic research with collaborators in AEDE and other universities; provides geographic information system support for the research project and the Swank program; writes reports on results through various outlets, including journal articles, extension publications, and other outlets; works on administrative support for the project. Other duties include providing high-level technical expertise to develop econometric models of population and employment dynamics.

Job Description

40%     Develops economic models, geographic information system (GIS) databases, and computer econometric programs for analyzing population and employment dynamics for North America and Ohio

20%     Coordinates economic research with collaborators in AEDE and other universities; provides geographic information system support for the research

25%     Writes reports on results through various outlets, including journal articles, extension publications, and other outlets.

15%     Works on administrative support for the project. Other duties include providing high-level technical expertise to develop econometric models of population and employment dynamics.

Experience (Required/Desired)

Ph.D. in a field closely related to regional and urban economics required; ability to design and perform state of the art regional and urban economics research desired; experience in econometrics and statistics desired; experience with writing journal articles and articles for outreach audiences desired

Successful completion of criminal background check required.

Contact Mark Partridge (Partridge.27@osu.edu) or Alessandra Faggian (Faggian.1@osu.edu) for more information.


Call for Applications: The Benjamin H. Stevens 2015-2016 Graduate Fellowship in Regional Science

Graduate students enrolled in Ph.D. programs in North America are encouraged to apply for the Sixteenth Benjamin H. Stevens Graduate Fellowship in Regional Science, administered by the North American Regional Science Council of the Regional Science Association International (NARSC-RSAI). This Fellowship, in support of thesis research in Regional Science, is awarded annually in memory of Dr. Benjamin H. Stevens, an intellectual leader whose selfless devotion to graduate students as teacher, advisor, mentor, and friend had a profound impact on the field. Regional Science is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the theory and method of urban and regional phenomena. Regional Scientists apply theoretical and empirical frameworks and methods of the social and other sciences, as well as develop new ones specifically for regional analysis and policy.

Eligible students should have completed all degree requirements except for their dissertation by the time the Fellowship commences. A requirement of the Fellowship is that the recipient has no duties other than dissertation research during the Fellowship, although the recipient may hold other fellowships concurrently. Applications from students working in any area or any Ph.D. program are welcome as long as their dissertation research addresses a research question in Regional Science.

The Fellowship consists of a stipend in the amount of $30,000 (U.S.), paid over a twelve-month period. Applications for the 2015-2016 Fellowship should be sent electronically by the applicant to the Selection Committee Chair, Nathaniel Baum-Snow, and received by February 15, 2015. An application consists of the following materials:

1. A curriculum vita of no more than two (2) pages in length.

2. A statement in ten (10) pages or less explaining the questions and issues to be addressed, the approach to be used, and the product expected from the thesis research, preceded by a summary (1-page maximum) describing the intellectual merit of the proposed research, and the broader impacts that may result. The 10-page limit is inclusive of references, but exclusive of tables and figures. This text should be in 12 point or larger font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins; references may be single-spaced.

3. Copies of the candidate’s transcripts for all graduate study. Unofficial copies are acceptable.

In addition, the thesis supervisor shall provide a confidential letter sent separately as an attachment from her/his email account with the student’s name in the subject line to Nathaniel Baum-Snow Nathaniel_Baum-Snow@brown.edu. In the letter the supervisor should assess the quality and significance of the proposed dissertation research, specify the current state of progress toward the candidate’s degree and provide a commitment by the thesis supervisor to obtain a tuition waiver for the candidate for the year of the Fellowship. A condition of the Fellowship is the granting of a tuition waiver for the year of the Fellowship by the university, or equivalent payment of the student’s tuition.

Applications should be emailed to Professor Nathaniel Baum-Snow. Questions may also be sent to him at Nathaniel_Baum-Snow@brown.edu. For information about NARSC, go to www.narsc.org/newsite/. For information about RSAI, go to www.rsai.org.

May 5, 2014

Job Opportunity: Research Assistant II, Institute of Urban Studies, University of Winnipeg

The Institute of Urban Studies (IUS) was created by the University of Winnipeg in 1969 at a time when the city’s “urban university” perceived a need to address the problems and concerns of the inner city. Research Associates are the core of the Institute’s ability to conduct research and engage in community projects and programs. The Research Associate II is a senior research position that has responsibilities in originating research and completing all levels of analysis related to new and existing projects. In addition, they have supervisory responsibilities.


  • The position’s primary role is to support research on the MHCC At Home/Chez Soi Project; with secondary responsibilities in other IUS research projects.
  • Undertake primary research, analysis, and report preparation.
  • Facilitate public engagement: conducts interviews, organizes seminars or focus groups, hosts community meetings and other forms of public engagement.
  • Support project procurement and staff supervision.
  • Report and document preparation.
  • Undertake public speaking and/or support course delivery with guest lectures; presents findings at conferences or stakeholder meetings, provides comments to media.
  • Contributes to overall Institute activities and internal operations.
  • Contributes to planning and delivery of special events.


  • Master’s Degree related to urban affairs, such as geography, urban planning, economics, environmental studies, law, public administration, political science, or another related discipline.
  • Minimum two-years of experience in conducting research, writing reports and compiling information.
  • Superior written and oral communication skills.
  • Experience preparing reports, technical documents, and correspondence at a high level of quality required.
  • An understanding of issues related to health/mental health/addictions as related to housing required.
  • Additional understanding several of the following urban issues: social policy, urban development, housing, urban aboriginal issues, urban design, urban environmental issues, inner-city issues & development, urban revitalization, or government policy & programs.
  • Required, is knowledge of qualitative/quantitative analysis software such as SPSS Statistics 19 and/or NVIVO-10.
  • Experience working with diverse stakeholders including Community Groups, Provincial and Local Governments, Aboriginal Groups, business representatives and Social Development Agencies.
  • Knowledge of local social service agencies, community groups and related government departments an asset.
  • Ability to work in political environments requiring confidentiality and discretion.
  • Ability to work either independently or within a team environment.
  • Availability to work some evenings and weekends to attend conferences or meetings as required.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to resolve conflict situations with tact and diplomacy.
  • Well-developed planning, analytical, problem solving and organizational skills with ability to prioritize workloads under pressure.
  • Strong client service skills with the ability to provide advisory services to clients.
  • Knowledge of management processes including: RFP & EOI processes, awards of contracts, project management & budgeting, development of contract terms and conditions, and risk management an asset.
  • Presentation skills including public speaking and use of PowerPoint
  • Strong skills with Microsoft Office Suite are required.
  • Knowledge of graphic-design software would be beneficial: e.g. InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator

An equivalent combination of education, experience and skills may be considered. For more information pertaining to the position and to apply, click on the following link:




Lawrence Alan Brown (1935-2014)

It is with deep sadness that the North American Regional Science Council learned that Dr. Lawrence Alan Brown passed away peacefully around 10:43am on Sunday, April 6, surrounded by his family and close friends, at Zusman Hospice, 1151 College Avenue, Bexley, Ohio.

Larry was born in 1935 and raised in Erie, Pennsylvania to immigrant parents. His life and work reflects in many ways the classic American immigrant story of success. His father and other relatives fled the pogroms in Ukraine; and the family name was changed from Browarnick to Brown when they immigrated to the U.S. via Ellis Island. His parents instilled in him deep values about the importance of education and achievement.

A self-described “dead-end kid,” Larry initially aspired to be an auto mechanic which may explain his affinity for late-model BMWs. Instead of technical school, Larry went to college after high school because it meant something to his immigrant parents. He received his undergraduate degree in 1958 from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, with a B.S. degree in Economics/Business . He first worked as an accountant in New Orleans and then tried law school before discovering his true passion for geography, enrolling in the graduate program at Northwestern University in Chicago in the early 1960s.

The roots of Larry’s interest in geography were set much earlier, however, when he and his brother Ed travelled through Latin America, driving down the Pan American Highway in the late-1950s.  There he encountered an international development worker who shared Preston James’ book – Latin America (1950) with him—an event that Larry often recounted in stories of his early discovery of geography. His formal training began at Northwestern where he earned an MA in geography in 1963 and PhD in 1966. The renowned Swedish geographer, Torsten Hägerstrand, supervised his dissertation fieldwork on innovation and diffusion processes.

Larry’s seminal book, Innovation Diffusion: A New Perspective (1981, Methuen), provided the definitive account of the ongoing adoption and spread of new products and techniques. Earlier research had emphasized the adopters themselves, but Larry refocused attention to the social and geographic processes that supported transformative technologies, products, and behaviors.  Later, his research on mobility and migration offered new insights into why and where people move. His pioneering theory of intra-urban migration (with Eric Moore) in 1970 separated residential mobility process into two stages: dissatisfaction with the current home and the search for a new one. This influential work inspired several generations of demographers and  urban geographers who went on to clarify the mobility behavior of young adults just leaving the family home, the role of residential change in the upward mobility of new immigrants, and the way local housing markets affect homeownership—all compelling and socially significant issues today. More recently, up to and following the publication of another important book, Place, Migration and Development in the Third World (1990, Routledge), Larry’s research sought to show how context shapes the relations among urbanization, economic growth, and population change in Latin America, Third World development, and  in US metropolitan areas.

In addition to these groundbreaking intellectual achievements, Larry’s legacy to OSU and the field of geography lies in his generous, strategic, and unstinting mentorship of graduate students. As a faculty member at OSU, he advised thirty PhD students in all, many of whom are intellectual leaders themselves today. He made a lifetime commitment to those who chose to work with him: following their careers, offering advice when asked, writing hundreds of timely, and pointed letters of recommendation; taking an interest in their personal lives, and being the go-to person in times of need. He had a special relationship with a large cluster of doctoral graduates from Korea, and the story goes that his sociable participation in karaoke sessions won him lasting admiration and gratitude. His hallmark departmental “pointer” was a very simple yet effective item to have people remember their visits, and of course, also came in handy in the classroom.

In a lifetime of professional effort he deservedly earned high honors himself. He was President of the Association of American Geographers, Department Chair (at the same time!), a Guggenheim Fellow, President of the North American Regional Science Council, and a Distinguished University Professor at Ohio State. In recognition of his extraordinary vision and leadership in the field of geography, the AAG presented its Lifetime Achievement Honors Award to Larry in 2008. Larry also worked assiduously to advance the many causes he championed. As department chair, he nominated countless colleagues for teaching, service, and research honors, as well as honorary doctorates. He nominated former students for similar positions at their home universities.

There were also sides to him of which few were aware. Larry had been a consummate golfer in earlier years. He was a very good tennis player and an excellent swimmer. He had an extensive collection of blues and American roots music. He was widely read outside the social sciences.. He felt things deeply and cared for people. And yet, those of you who know Larry will not be surprised that he spent the final days at his place of work: a corner office in Derby Hall with a window facing Bricker Hall where his light often burned late into the night. The hallways and hearts of OSU geography faculty, staff, and students are filled with reminders of Larry’s devotion to the discipline, to his friends, colleagues, and students.  His style and dedication to service has shaped the way we are today, and this lives on in the Lawrence A. Brown Faculty Fellowship.

“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.” The first floor of Derby Hall will be different without Larry.  He will be forever missed.

Warren L. Weidenbaum (1927-2014)

The North American Regional Science Council was saddened to hear of the death of economist Murray L. Weidenbaum. While not a regular attendee at NARSC meetings Professor Weidenbaum did deliver the luncheon address at the North American Regional Science meetings in the early 1970s.

Source: New York Times, March 21, 2014.

Full write-up in the New York Times can be found here.

Piet Rietveld (1952-2013)

In memoriam: Piet Rietveld, 1952 – 2013

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Piet Rietveld, Professor in Transport Economics and Head of the Department of Spatial Economics, VU University Amsterdam. Piet passed away, after a short period of illness, on November 1, 2013.

Piet studied econometrics at Erasmus University, Rotterdam (cum laude degree) and received his PhD in economics at VU University Amsterdam. He worked at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (Austria) and was research co-ordinator at Universitas Kristen Satya Wacana in Salatiga, Indonesia. Since 1990 he was professor in Transport Economics at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, VU University Amsterdam. He was a fellow of the Tinbergen Institute, the Regional Science Association International (RSAI) and the Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis (KiM). Furthermore, he was a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Piet has been Head of the Department of Spatial Economics since 2002. Under his unique and inspiring leadership, the Department has flourished, and has gained and maintained its unique position worldwide in the fields of Spatial, Transport and Environmental Economics. As a researcher, Piet has made ground-breaking contributions to these fields, on a wide variety of themes including transport and regional development, valuation, transport pricing, public transport, transport and environment, land-use modelling, and policy assessment. A good impression of his impressive scientific legacy, the scope of themes he was working on, his academic network, and the wide impact of his research, can be obtained from the overview of his work on Google Scholar (link: http://scholar.google.nl/citations?user=qVEsFisAAAAJ&hl=us).

But above all, Piet was dearly beloved by everyone who has had the privilege to work with him, for his wisdom, his warm personality, his gentleness, and his sense of humour. He will be deeply missed.

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