Matthew Drennan

Matthew Drennan

Visiting Professor of Urban Planning


Ph.D., New York University, Economics; M.A., University of Michigan, Economics; B.S. University of Detroit, Economics

Areas of Interest:

Economics, Public Spaces


(310) 825-0587


Office Location:

5260, Public Affairs

Matthew Drennan has been a Visiting Professor in the department since 2004.   He is an Emeritus Professor, City and Regional Planning, Cornell University.

His recent book “Income Inequality: Why It Matters and Why Most Economists Didn’t Notice” was published by Yale University Press in November, 2015. It was reviewed in the Sunday New York Times Book Review, December 20, 2015.

His current research focuses on how minimum wage increases in big cities affect consumption expenditures of low-wage workers in the metropolitan area. Most of his past work has been in urban and regional economics. In the “Encyclopedia of New York City” he wrote the history of the city’s economy from colonial times to the present.


“The Economic Consequences of Income Inequality, “ final report to Russell Sage Foundation, Working Paper 2011.

“Does Public Transit Use Enhance the Economic Efficiency of Urban Areas?” with Charles M. brecher, under review 2011.

“Measuring Urban Agglomeration Economies with Office Rents,” with Hugh Kelly, Journal of Economic Geography, Vol. 11, No. 3, 2011.

“Falling Behind: California’s Interior Metropolitan Areas,” with Michael Manville,Berkeley Planning Journal, Vol. 21, 2008.

“Economics: Diminishing Marginal Utility” Challenge, September-October, 2006

“Possible Sources of Wage Divergence among Metropolitan Areas of the United States,” Urban Studies, Vol. 42, No. 9, 2005.

“Unit Root Tests of Sigma Income Convergence Across U.S. Metropolitan Areas,” with Jose Lobo and Deborah Strumsky, Journal of Economic Geography, Vol. 4, No. 5, 2004.

“Transition and Renewal; The Emergence of a Diverse Upstate Economy,”with Rolf Pendall and Susan Christopherson. Center on Urban and Metropolitan Policy, the Brookings Institution, January, 2004.

“The Economic Benefits of Public Investment in Transportation: A Review of Recent Literature,” Journal of Planning Education and Research, Vol. 22, No. 3, 2003.

“Sectoral Shares, Specialization, and Metropolitan Wages in the United States, 1969-1996,” with Shannon Larsen, Jose Lobo, Deborah Strumsky, and Wahyu Utomo. Urban Studies, Vol. 39, June, 2002.

“A Simple Test for Convergence of Metropolitan Income in the United States,”with Jose Lobo. Journal of Urban Economics, Vol. 46, pp 350-359, 1999.

“National Structural Change and Metropolitan Specialization in the United States.” Papers in Regional Science, Vol. 78, pp 297-318, 1999.

“The Performance of Metropolitan Area Industries,” Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Economic Policy Review, Vol. 3, No. 1, February, 1997.

“The Interruption of Income Convergence and Income Growth in Large Cities in the 1980s,” with Emanuel Tobier and Jonathan Lewis, Urban Studies, Vol. 33, No. 1, February, 1996.

“The Fiscal Problems of the Two New Yorks: What Happened This Time,”Public Budgeting and Finance, Summer, 1994.

“Gateway Cities: The Metropolitan Sources of U.S. Producer Service Exports,” Urban Studies, Vol. 29, No. 2, 1992.

“Information-Intensive Industries in Metropolitan Areas of the United States”,Environment and Planning A, Vol. 21, 1989.

“An Econometric Model of New York City and Region: What It Is and What It Can Do,” Economic Development Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 4, November, 1989.

Book Chapters:

“Economy,” The encyclopedia of New York City, 2nd Edition, Ed. Kenneth T. Jackson, New Haven:  Yale University Press, 2010.

“The Economic Cost of Disasters- Permanent or Ephemeral?” in Economic Costs and Consequences of Terrorism, Peter Gordon and Harry Richardson, eds, Edward Elgar, 2007.

“The Dominance of International Finance by London, New York and Tokyo,” inThe Global Economy in Transition, P. W. Daniels and W. F. Lever, eds., Longmans Ltd., 1996.

“The Changing Economic Functions of the New York Region,” in Research in Urban Economics, Vol. 10, R.D. Norton, editor, JAI Press Inc., 1996.

Selected Books and Publications

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Research Interests