Our Work

The Urbanisation in Developing Countries programme produces academic papers, databases, background reports and presentations. With our work we aim to contribute to knowledge creation around the causes and consequences of differing patterns of urban growth.
12 Results
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The Development of the African System of Cities

15th Nov 2017, Submitted Paper

Authors: Vernon Henderson, Sebastian Kriticos

Annual Review of Economics (Forthcoming)

Has Climate Change Promoted Urbanization in Sub-Saharan Africa?

2nd Jan 2017, Published Paper

Authors: Vernon Henderson, Adam Storeygard, Uwe Deichmann

This paper documents strong but differentiated links between climate and urbanization in large panels of districts and cities in Sub-Saharan Africa, which has dried substantially in the past fifty years.

Journal of Development Economics, 2017, 124,  60-82

Breaking into Tradables: Urban form and urban function in a developing city

14th Dec 2016, Submitted Paper

Author: Tony Venables

Many cities in developing economies, particularly in Africa, are experiencing ‘urbanisation without industrialisation’. This paper conceptualises this in a framework in which a city can produce non-tradable goods and – if it is sufficiently competitive – also internationally tradable goods, potentially subject to increasing returns to scale.

Urban Economics R&R

The Urban Wage Premium in Africa

14th Nov 2016, Working Paper

Authors: Patricia Jones, Olivia D’Aoust, Louise Bernard

This paper examines the size and sources of the urban wage premium in three African countries—Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda— using panel data on workers for the period 2009 to 2013. 

Urban infrastructure for development

3rd Oct 2016, Published Paper

Authors: Paul Collier, Tony Venables

The paper discusses the importance of infrastructure investment in growing cities, arguing that, in addition to its direct benefits, infrastructure plays crucial roles in enabling density and coordinating private investment decisions. Many cities have failed to invest in sufficient infrastructure due to inadequate financing tools (in particular failure to capture benefits through land value taxation) and fragmented urban authority.

Oxford Review of Economic Policy 32(3):391-409

The Heterogeneous Effects of Transportation Investments: Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa 1960-2010

20th Jul 2016, Working Paper

Authors: Remi Jedwab, Adam Storeygard

This study looks how the effects of transportation investments vary as a function of the characteristics of the places they connect.

Building Functional Cities

20th May 2016, Published Paper

Authors: Vernon Henderson, Tony Venables, Tanner Regan, Ilia Samsonov

This paper models the dynamics of urban land use with both formal and slum dwellings and ongoing urban redevelopment to higher building heights in the formal sector as a city grows.

Science  20 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6288, pp. 946-947 

Farther on down the Road: Transport Costs, Trade and Urban Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

23rd Apr 2016, Published Paper

Author: Adam Storeygard

This article investigates the role of intercity transport costs in determining the income of sub-Saharan African cities.

Urbanisation in Post-Apartheid South Africa

5th Apr 2016, Working Paper

Authors: Jan David Bakker, Christopher Parsons, Ferdinand Rauch

This paper examines the effect of migration of black South Africans after apartheid on urbanisation and the distribution of population. In particular, it tests if the inflow of migrants led to displacement, path dependence, or agglomeration in the destination area.

Pollution, Crime, and Mistrust Across Space: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa

30th Mar 2016, Working Paper

Author: Martina Kirchberger

Striking differences in living standards between urban and rural areas in low income countries pose a puzzle for growth economists. Using a conventional spatial equilibrium model, this paper asks whether the spatial distribution of key disamenities can explain the observed differences in living standards in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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