Fourteenth Luca d’Agliano Lecture in Development Economics

Fourteenth Luca d’Agliano Lecture in Development Economics: “Building African Cities” by J. Vernon Henderson (School Professor of Economic Geography, London School of Economics), 2 November 2016, 5 p.m., Fondazione Luigi Einaudi, Palazzo d’Azeglio, Via Principe Amedeo 34, 10123 Turin.

Discussant: Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano (Professor of Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science and University of Bologna; Coordination Committee, Centro Studi Luca d’Agliano).

Sub-Saharan countries are urbanizing rapidly at comparatively low income levels, with inadequate resources to manage an orderly process. Millions crowd into cities, especially primate cities, stressing local institutions and public finances. This talk reports on a research agenda on urbanization in Africa, using novel data on the built environment and people in cities.  Themes covered include colonial legacies of Francophone versus Anglophone approaches to colonial governance and city development, modern redevelopment of the built environment to build high within cities, the role and evolution of slums, the costs of institutional failures which misallocate land use in cities, and how the recent wave of democratization in Africa has reallocated resources across the urban political hierarchy.

J. Vernon Henderson joined the London School of Economics in September 2013 as School Professor of Economic Geography, having previously been Eastman Professor of Political Economy at Brown University, USA. His research focuses on urbanization in developing countries, looking both within and across cities and regions. He is the co-PI of a major research project on urbanization in Africa, as well as globally, situated at LSE and Oxford. His current research looks at topics such as expressway development and city growth in China, the dynamics of investment in the built environment in cities, how colonial legacy affects sprawl and the spatial layout of cities, and the impact of democratization in Africa on city growth and health and education outcomes across the urban political hierarchy.
His work is published in journals such as “the American Economic Review”, “Journal of Political Economy”, “Review of Economic Studies”, “Science”, and “Journal of Development Economics.” He is co-editor of the “Journal of Urban Economics” and the “Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics”, and serves on a number of editorial boards. He is a founder and past President of the Urban Economics Association. Over the years, he has worked with governments in Asia and Africa directly or indirectly through institutions such as the World Bank or the McKinsey Global Institute on formulating urban policies.

Lecture’s Slides
Article on Il Sole 24 Ore