Michael Storper

Michael Storper

Professor of Urban Planning


Ph.D. in Geography, University of California, Berkeley

Areas of Interest:

Cities and New Technologies, Economic Development, Global Public Affairs, Innovation, Regional Political Economy, Urban Economics




Office Location:

5288, Public Affairs

Professor Storper’s research and teaching interests fall into five, closely linked, areas:

Economic geography, meaning the forces that affect the ways the economy organizes itself in geographical space. These forces are many and sundry, ranging from technology, industry structure and market structure, to institutions, effects of history, and policies. A core problem for me is the long-standing tension between the geographical concentration of activity and specialization of regional and national economies and the spreading out of activity into wider geographical spaces, both of which are occurring in the current wave of globalization.

Globalization, meaning the ever-increasing geographical scale of economic processes, and some of the associated processes of change in the scale at which management of firms, markets, and institutions operate. I am interested especially in the locational processes described above, and how they change the geographical distribution of economic activities and hence the composition of economies at different territorial scales and their development processes. Questions of interplace inequalities, polarization, convergence and divergence, can be seen strongly from an economic geographical perspective.

Technology as a force in structuring economic geography and globalization. Technological change is a key motor of geography, because it changes the structure of transport and trade costs. It does this in complex ways, and many of them are indirect. My research also concerns technological competencies at different territorial levels, the geography of technological innovation, and how this affects development processes in regions and nations.

Regions, especially city regions. The geographical concentration of activity is a key motor of the composition and functioning of urban and regional economies, their specializations, their labor markets, and their associated processes of physical and social development.

Economic development: economic geography is a strong way into examining the process of economic development. Though geography is structured by development, development is also structured by the unfolding of broad economic-geographical forces. Comparative economic development can be seen through the lens of economic geography, which can also help understand the geographical differentiation of institutions, which in turn have strong effects on development.

Beyond his core disciplinary skills in economic geography, his work on occasion draws on, and has links to, economics, sociology. and urban studies. Storper holds concurrent appointments in Europe, where he is Professor of Economic Sociology at the Institute of Political Studies (“Sciences Po”) in Paris, and a member of its research Center for the Sociology of Organizations (CS0), and at the London School of Economics, where he is Professor of Economic Geography.

Storper is currently completing a five-year research project on the divergent economic development of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area economies since 1970, which is the subject of his next book “The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies: Lessons from San Francisco and Los Angeles.” SFGate calls it “a must-read for anyone who cares about the future of California and cities more broadly.”

His Op-Ed Why San Francisco’s way of doing business beat Los Angeles’ was featured in the Los Angeles Times.

Storper received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands in 2008. He was elected to the British Academy in 2012 and received the Regional Studies Association’s award for overall achievement as well as the Sir Peter Hall Award in the House of Commons in 2012.

In 2014 Storper was named one of the “World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds” by Thomson Reuters.


Cohesion Policy in the European Union: Growth, Geography, Institutions
Author: Michael Storper, Thomas Farole, Andres Rodriguez-Pose
Download file: PDF

Governing the Large Metropolis
Author: Michael Storper
Download file: PDF

Is Specialization Good for Regional Economic Development?
Author: Michael Storper, Thomas Kemeny
Download file: PDF

The Nature of Cities: The Scope and Limits of Urban Theory
Author: Michael Storper, Allen J. Scott
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Keys to the City: How economics, institutions, social interactions and politics affect regional development
2013 (June).  Princeton: Princeton University Press

Speech accepting the Sir Peter Hall Award in the House of Commons, 2012
Download file: PDF

Book Review, Glaeser’s Triumph of the City
Author: Michael Storper
Journal of Economic Geography

Rising Trade Costs? Agglomeration and trade with endogenous transaction costs
2008. co- authored with Gilles Duranton. Canadian Journal of Economics 41,1: 292-319

Rethinking Human Capital, Creativity, and Urban Growth
2009  Co-authored with Allen J. Scott, Journal of Economic Geography :147-167, January

Why Does a City Grow? Specialization, Human Capital, or Institutions?
2010 Michael Storper,  Urban Studies v.47, 10: 2027-2050
Download file: PDF

Cohesion Policy in the European Union: Growth, Geography, Institutions
2011  TC Farole, A Rodriguez Pose, M. Storper, Journal of Common Market Studies 49,5: 1089-1111

Should Places Help One Another? Justice, Efficiency and Economic Geography
Author: Michael Storper. 2011  European Urban and Regional Studies 18,1: 3-21

The Sources of Urban Development: Wages, Housing and Amenity Gaps across American Cities
2012  Tom Kemeny and Michael Storper, Journal of Regional Science 52,1: 85-108

The Territorial Dynamics of Innovation in China and India
2012  Journal of Economic Geography, 12: 105-1085 (with Riccardo Crescenzi and Andres Rodriguez-Pose).


Selected Books and Publications

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Research Interests