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CDE Conference 2013

Urbanization & Development

Kuala Lumpur

Dates: Thursday, October 17 & Friday, October 18

Location: Main Stage, ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance, Williams College (Thursday)
Griffin Hall, Room 3, Williams College (Friday)

Schedule of Events


8 PM Keynote Address: Questions for Policy and Understanding of Urban Systems: the Case of Colombia. Gilles Duranton, Professor and Chair of the Real Estate Department at the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania.

Duranton will discuss the nature and limits on what we can understand about policy effectiveness in the context of an on-going effort by the Colombian government to strengthen its cities.

Tickets for the keynote address are required for admission but are free. Tickets are available through the box office of the ’62 Center by calling (413) 597-2425 or online.


9 AM Urbanization, Property Rights, and Entrepreneurship. Lakshmi Iyer, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Government, and the International Economy Unit at Harvard Business School.

Iyer will discuss the link between urbanization and entrepreneurship. She will review studies from India and China on how urbanization can facilitate entrepreneurship and the barriers to making this process more inclusive.

10 AM Land Markets, Property Rights, and City Structure in West African Cities. Harris Selod, Senior economist at The World Bank.

Selod will explain the complex land tenure systems that prevail in West African cities. His research presents descriptive findings from a land market assessment recently carried out in Bamako, Mali.

11 AM The Spatial Distribution of Population in 54 World Cities: The Role of Markets, Planning, and Topography. Stephen Malpezzi, Professor in the Wisconsin School of Business’s Department of Real Estate and Urban Land Economics at the University of Wisconsin.

Malpezzi’s research presents population density gradient sand associated measures, for 54 large cities in 29 countries, across a wide range of regions and levels of development. The results illustrate some of the forces that affect urban density patterns.

1:15 PM Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict. Solomon Hsiang, Assistant Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

Hsiang will discuss strong causal evidence linking climatic events to human conflict across a range of spatial and temporal scales and across all major regions of the world. Amplified rates of human conflict could represent a large and critical impact of climate change.

2:15 PM Climate Change and Urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa. Adam Storeygard, Assistant Professor of Economics at Tufts University.

Storeygard will present evidence that areas in sub-Saharan Africa with sharper drying trends have urbanized more rapidly than their neighbors experiencing more mild change.

3:15 PM Transportation and Urban Growth in Chinese Cities. Nathaniel Baum-Snow, Associate Professor of Economics at Brown University.

Baum-Snow will discuss research that examines various mechanisms through which highway and railroad networks have facilitated urban growth in Chinese cities since 1990.

4:30 PM Panel Discussion and Wrap-Up Gilles Duranton, University of Pennsylvania; Yannis Ioannides, Tufts University; Stephen Sheppard, Williams College; Moderator- Yong Lee, Williams College.

Conference Papers

Nathaniel Baum-Snow, et al. “Roads, Railroads and Decentralization of Chinese Cities.” April, 2012. Download PDF

Solomon Hsiang, et al. “Quantifying the Influence of Climate on Human Conflict. “ September, 2013. Download PDF

Solomon Hsiang and Marshall Burke. “Climate, Conflict, and Social Stability: What Does The Evidence Say?” Download PDF

Lakshmi Iyer, Tarun Khanna, and Ashutosh Varshney. “Caste and Entrepreneurship in India.” October, 2012. Download PDF

Lakshmi Iyer, et al. “Private Sector Employment and Labor Demand in China: Evidence from Urban Housing Reforms.” May, 2012. Download PDF

Stephen Malpezzi. “Population Density: Some Facts and Some Predictions.” September, 2013. Download PDF

Harris Selod and Lara Tobin. City Structure and Informal Property Rights in West Africa: Theory and Evidence.” June, 2013. Download PDF

Alain Durand- Lasserve and Harris Selod. “Land Markets and Land Delivery Systems in Rapidly Expanding West African Cities. The Case of Bamako.” August, 2012. Download PDF

J. Vernon Henderson, Mark Roberts, and Adam Storeygard. “Is Urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa Different?” August, 2013. Download PDF

Conference Videos

Acess YouTube Videos here.

Conference photo
Conference Participants (From left to right): Stephen Malpezzi, Nate Baum-Snow, Yong Suk Lee, Solomon Hsiang, Lakshmi Iyer, Stephen Sheppard, Yannis Ioannides, Adam Storeygard, Harris Selod and Gilles Duranton