5th Urbanization and Poverty Reduction Research Conference

Friday, September 7, 2018
8:30am to 7:30pm

Preston Auditorium, The World Bank
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, D.C., 20433

Please RSVP to Attend

Across the developing world, the growth of cities is outpacing effective policy. Low density land use results in rapidly expanding cities, raising the costs of infrastructure and service provision and limiting liveability and productivity. At the same time, limited investments in transport infrastructure such as roads limits the connectivity between individuals and opportunities that make cities engines for growth. Effective policy to address these challenges requires an understanding of the spatial organisation of cities, and how the distribution of private and public investments across a city affect economic growth.

On 7 September 2018, the 5th Urbanization and Poverty Reduction Conference will bring together academics and development practitioners to present and discuss questions relating to the spatial organisation of cities and economic growth. In particular, the conference will be focusing on effective land and transport policy in cities and the implications of urban development for national growth. This conference is hosted by the World Bank (Development Research Group), George Washington University (Institute for International Economic Policy),  the International Monetary Fund, and the International Growth Centre.


  • 8:30-9:00 – Coffee and Registration
  • 9:00-10:45 – Welcoming Remarks
    • Chair and Moderator: 
      Shantayanan Devarajan
      Senior Director, Development Economics, World Bank
    • Panelists:
      Aisa Kirabo Kacyira
      Deputy Director UN-Habitat, former mayor of Kigali
      Edward Glaeser
      Professor of Economics, Harvard and International Growth Center
  • 10:45-11:00 – Coffee Break
  • 11:00 -12:30 – Session One: Land
    • Mini Keynote: Informal Land Use
      Harris Selod
      Development Research Group, The World Bank
    • Backyarding
      Jan Brueckner, Claus Rabe, and Harris Selod
    • Compactness
      Vernon Henderson
    • Chair:
    • Discussant: 
      Mariaflavia Harari
      Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania
  • 12:30-13:30 – Lunch
  • 13.30-14:15 – Keynote Address:
    • The Geography of Development
      Esteban Rossi-Hansberg
      Princeton University
    • Chair:
      Asli Demirguc-Kunt
      Research Director, Development Research Group, World Bank
  • 14:15 -15:45 – Session Two: Transportation
    • Mini Keynote: “Cars in Cities”
      Matthew Kahn
    • Transport in a Congested City – A Computer Equilibrium Model Applied to Kampala City
      Louise Bernard, Julia Bird, Tony Venables
    • Who Wins? Who Loses? Understanding the Spatially Differentiated Effects of Belt and Road within Central Asia
      Bader El Hifnawy, Somik Lall, Mathilde Lebrand
    • Chair:
      Marianna Fay
      Chief Economist, Climate Change
    • Discussant:
      Leah Brooks
      Assistant Professor, George Washington University
  • 15:45-16:00 – Coffee Break
  • 16:00-17:30 – Session Three: Urbanization, Growth, and Development
    • Mini Keynote:
      Douglas Gollin
    • In Search of a Spatial Equilibrium in the Developing World
      Douglas Gollin, Martina Kirchberger, David Lagakos
    • Modern Urban Technology and the Future of the New Urban Giants
      Remi Jedwab, Prakash Loungani, Anthony Yezer
    • Chair:
      Chris Papageorgiou
      International Monetary Fund
    • Discussant:
      Deniz Igan
      Deputy Division Chief, Research Department’s Macro Financial Division, IMF
  • 17:30-18:00 – Break
  • 18:00-19:30 – Cocktail Reception and Welcome Speech by Maggie Chen
    • At George Washington University, Lindner Commons Room (6th Floor) of the Elliott School of International Affairs, 1957 E St. N.W. (at the intersection of E and 19th Streets, on E Street), Washington, DC.

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