Fall 2017 - 61035 - PA 393L - Advanced Policy Economics

Economics of Urban and Regional Policy

March 31, 2017

Advanced Policy Economics:  Economics of Urban and Regional Policy

LBJ School of Public Affairs


Fall 2017

The factors affecting the evolution of the spatial economy and urban form in the United States, including globalization and economic change, technology, information and telecommunications, poverty, income distribution, and race/ethnicity inequalities, are examined in the first segment of the course. Theoretical and conceptual explanations for uneven economic development across space and of urban and regional economic growth are discussed in the second segment. Various analytical techniques—including location quotients, input-output models and regional econometric models—used in spatial analysis will be discussed. Then economic determinants of urban form, land use and neighborhood choice are addressed. In the last segment, the course shifts to an explicit focus on urban policy: the constitutional and institutional context of local government, urban services, housing, economic development and growth management and sustainability.Economic structure, rates of economic growth and socio-economic outcomes vary across geography, as observed in urban-rural, center city-suburb and interregional differentials. The course will explore the theories and empirical analyses used to explain how spatial economies function and generate public policy challenges. By the end of the course, students should be able to employ analytical frameworks and empirical techniques to investigate aspects of urban and regional economies that are relevant to local, state and federal policy issues.

The course is most appropriate for students with interests in urban policy, regional and urban development, and state and local government. Although the course focuses principally on the U.S., attention is given to spatial economies and urban policy in other countries, and students can choose to write a paper on cities and regions outside the U.S.

Requirements and Expectations

Students will be evaluated on six elements: two take home exams, one paper (including the oral presentation of the paper), four problem sets, a technical memorandum and class participation.


The required text for the course is O’Flaherty, Brendan, City Economics (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005). Other required readings will be posted on Canvas.


SRH 3.122