CANCELLED Economists in the City: Reconsidering the History of Urban Policy Expertise

11 May 2020

Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge CB3 9DT

We regret that that this workshop has been cancelled, and apologise for any inconvenience caused.


Cléo Chassonnery-Zaïgouche, Research Associate, CRASSH (University of Cambridge)

Michael Kenny, Professor of Public Policy, POLIS  (University of Cambridge)



When and why did the expertise and knowledge of economists become so highly valued in the world of public policy? 

The workshop explores this question in relation to the development of policy thinking towards cities in the last few decades, and considers some of the main implications of economic theory for urban policy in countries like the US, France and the UK. It also examines other social science perspectives upon cities, and evaluates the efforts of a number of leading economists in the last 20 years to develop a more spatially aware body of thinking.  And, in addition, it asks what kinds of policies are most appropriate for cities when there is growing criticism of the implications of public policies based on the value of agglomeration.

Economists in the City aims to bring together historians of economics, economists, urban policy experts and social scientists to explore these issues. It will provide an opportunity for us to consider why and how over the last 20 years the knowledge-claims of some economists have moved from academe into the world of policy-making, and whether a counter-reaction to this form of expertise is now underway. 



Beatrice Cherrier (CNRS, University of Cergy-Pontoise)

Diane Coyle (University of Cambridge)

Cédric Philadelphe Divry (University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

Mike Emmerich (Metro Dynamics, UK)

Alan Harding (Greater Manchester Combined Authority, UK)

Ron Martin (University of Cambridge)

Philip McCann (University of Sheffield)

Denise Pumain (University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

Anthony Rebours (University of Paris 8)

Anthony Venables (University of Oxford)

9:15 - 9:45

Registration and refreshments

9:45- 10:00

Opening Remarks

Michael Kenny and Cléo Chassonnery-Zaïgouche

10:00 - 12:30

Presentations: The History of Urban Economics

Beatrice Cherrier (CNRS, University of Cergy-Pontoise) 

Anthony Rebours (University Paris 8)

Cédric Philadelphe Divry (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

12:30 - 14:00


14:00 - 15:30

Panel Discussion: ‘How well has economics understood the economic role and development of cities?’

Ron Martin (University of Cambridge)

Diane Coyle (University of Cambridge)

Alan Harding (Greater Manchester Combined Authority)

15:30 - 16:00


16:00 - 17:15

Panel Discussion: ‘How has economic thinking informed public policy-making in relation to cities?’

Mike Emmerich (Metro Dynamics)

Phil McCann (University of Sheffield)

Denise Pumain (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

17:30 - 18:45


Anthony Venables (University of Oxford)

‘Agglomeration and space: micro-foundations and macro-implications'