Gilles Duranton

Gilles Duranton

The North American Regional Science Council is pleased to announce Gilles Duranton as recipient of the 2014 Walter Isard Award for his many contributions to Regional Science.  Gilles completed his PhD at the London School of Economics in 1997.  He holds the Dean’s Chair in Real Estate at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  Previously, he held appointments at the University of Toronto and the London School of Economics.   He is co-editor of the Journal of Urban Economics, a Fellow of RSAI, and past president of NARSC.

Gilles’ research has concentrated on explaining the economic successes and sizes of cities, using both economic theory and econometric specifications and estimations based on theory.  For regional scientists, there is no more fundamental question.  Answers require a general equilibrium analysis, not just within the city matching consumer demands and production of goods, but with trade of goods and mobility of factors across cities as well.  These intellectual concerns are central to regional science, for which demand for space, and pricing variations over space, are obviously core issues.  Gilles’ use of data from the United States, Canada, France and Britain has contributed to his profound influence on regional science, urban economics and ‘economic geography both in North America and abroad.

In a series of papers, Gilles has moved beyond hand-waving about cities and agglomeration by using location theory and econometric methods creatively to:

  • model the postulated chains of connections between agglomeration, congestion, and amenities or natural advantages and urban growth;
  • generate specifications for empirical estimation of these links, including using theory to  define specific, measureable processes producing the agglomeration or congestion;
  • highlight identification problems and propose solutions to those problems, and
  • examine the implications of the bases for cities for economic development of clusters and for public finance.

These papers have been published in the most prestigious social science journals, including the Journal of Political Economic, Review of Economic  Studies, Econometrica, American Economic Review, Journal of Regional Science, Journal of Urban Economics, and Regional Science and Urban Economics, among others.

For these path breaking contributions to regional science, we award Gilles Duranton the Walter Isard Award for 2014.

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