The Regional Research Institute is delighted to announce its Spring 2019 visiting speaker lineup. This lineup is so outstanding that we wanted to give you plenty of advance notice to mark your calendars accordingly!

Our four speakers, in order of their visits, are Eveline S. Van Leeuwen, David Audretsch, Sergio Rey and Christa (Jensen) Court.

In addition to their seminars, we will be planning additional opportunities for faculty and students to meet and interact with our speakers.
Eveline S. van Leeuwen

Thursday, March 7, 2019, 325 Brooks Hall, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Eveline S. Van Leeuwen, Professor in Spatial Economics and Chair of Urban Economics, Wageningen University, Netherlands

Urban-Rural Interactions: more important than ever

Dr. Van Leeuwen developed a novel approach to creating models that study actions and interactions of autonomous individual and collective agents. She did this by linking agent-based modelling and microsimulation with macro approaches; using this method, one can model individual behaviors and then simulate these behaviors on a macro level. She wrote about this new approach in a paper titled “The effects of future retail developments on the local economy; combining micro and macro approaches,” which earned her the prestigious Epainos award for best paper by a young researcher. Additionally, she developed an approach to extend and customize GIS tools and made them more robust by linking them to spatial microsimulation. This enabled her to translate a traditional economic model into an agent-based equivalent.

She was awarded the Moss Madden Medal by the British and Irish section of regional science and was awarded the Early Career Award at the British and Irish section of the Regional Science Association International conference.This year, she presented the Regional Science Policy and Practice Keynote Lecture at the European Regional Science Association meeting.

She has numerous areas of expertise, including sustainability, environmental impact assessment, sustainable development, spatial analysis, environmental management, and survey methodology and data analysis. Currently, Eveline and her team are examining how the spatial environment influences social processes by assessing personal, community and social network attributes and determining which ones influence participation choices.

At the regional level, she is examining opportunities for regional food systems and the preferences of urban consumers so that local policymakers will have the information they need to make the best decision. She is also examining economic and social interactions between places at the regional level and the urban level and seeing how these interactions impact wellbeing, economic activities, and participation. She aspires to develop interdisciplinary theories and modelling approaches to provide a holistic, integrated view of local communities and to illustrate how economic and social networks impact their vitality.

She has more than 115 publications and has been cited more than 500 times.

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Urban-Rural Interactions: more important than ever

Abstract: Urban-Rural Interactions: more important than ever
In order to achieve sustainable goals, such as energy transition and climate adaptations, collaboration between urban and rural areas is essential. No city is an island and that is why it is good to look beyond the city to the surrounding area: How can they benefit each other? In order to realise climate objectives, achieve energy transition, and reach the new goals for circular agriculture, the city and the countryside definitely need each other. As such Urban-Rural Interactions are more important than ever. However, many policy makers and academics – such as economists, and influencers – live in cities and their image of rural areas is often biased and incomplete. It makes sense that the economic focus is on cities as they have high levels of activity, but the relationship between the environment, nutrient cycles, water cycles, etc. are lacking. For this reason, awareness of the position and relationship between the urban and rural areas needs to be raised. In a balanced relationship, rural environments and cities will benefit from each other. However, in order to ensure this, a more fundamental understanding of the nature and value of urban and rural areas, as well as their residents, is essential. In this lecture, Eveline van Leeuwen will focus on subjective and objective differences between urban and rural areas both in terms of places as well as in terms of people. She will use economic data on EU regions, as well as on EU citizens and their preferences to highlight important and sometimes unexpected differences.

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David B. Audretsch

March 28, 2019, 325 Brooks Hall, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Dr. David B. Audretsch, Distinguished Professor, Ameritech Chair of Economic Development


Entrepreneurship and Regional Policy: The Role of Culture

“Entrepreneurship and Regional Policy: The Role of Culture”

Dr. David Audretsch is a Distinguished Professor and the Ameritech Chair of Economic Development at Indiana University, where he also serves as Director of the Institute for Development Strategies. He is an Honorary Professor of Industrial Economics and Entrepreneurship at the WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management in Germany and a Research Fellow of the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London.

Audretsch’s research has focused on the links between entrepreneurship, government policy, innovation, economic development, and global competitiveness. He is co-author of The Seven Secrets of Germany, published by Oxford University Press. He is co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Small Business Economics: An Entrepreneurship Journal. He was awarded the Global Award for Entrepreneurship Research by the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum (Entreprenörskapsforum). He has received honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Augsburg in Germany and Jonköping University in Sweden. Audretsch was also awarded the Schumpeter Prize from the University of Wuppertal in Germany.

Audretsch has served as an advisory board member to a number of international research and policy institutes, including Chair of the Deutsches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung Berlin (German Institute for Economic Analysis Berlin); Chair of the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (Foundation for the Promotion of German Science) in Berlin, Germany; the Center for European Economic Research (Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung) in Mannheim, Germany; National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine; New York Academy of Sciences; the Swedish Entrepreneurship Forum in Stockholm, Sweden; and the Jackstädt Centre for Entrepreneurship in Wuppertal, Germany.

Entrepreneurship and Regional Policy: The Role of Culture

Abstract: Entrepreneurship and Regional Policy: The Role of Culture
While a rich body of empirical studies has emerged focusing on specific policy instruments targeted to foster entrepreneurial activity, less attention has been paid to the policy context. The purpose of this presentation is to suggest that not only does the context matter for the efficacy of entrepreneurship policies, but in particular, the cultural context. While most studies and policy makers pose the question, “Which policies are most effective in fostering entrepreneurship and ultimately economic development,” this presentation considers the policy context by instead asking, “Under which cultural contexts will entrepreneurship policies be more effective and under which cultural contexts will entrepreneurship policies be less effective?”

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Sergio Rey

April 9, 2019, 325 Brooks Hall, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Dr. Sergio Rey, Professor of Public Policy and Director, University of California, Riverside

Dr. Rey founded the Center for Geospatial Sciences at the University of California, Riverside and is a recognized leader in the movement to develop open source GIS and spatial analytical software. He is the creator and lead developer of the open source package STARS: Space-Time Analysis of Regional Systems, and the co-founder and lead developer of PySAL: An Open-Source Spatial Analysis Library written in Python. Because the library can be used with other software projects, PySAL has been downloaded by thousands of researchers and programmers and is recognized as an invaluable tool to facilitate spatial analysis both in the open source as well as in the commercial world.

His biography lists his research interests as focusing on the development, implementation, and application of advanced methods of spatial and space-time data analysis while his substantive foci include regional inequality, convergence and growth dynamics as well as neighborhood change, segregation dynamics, spatial criminology and industrial networks. He is an elected fellow of both the Regional Science Association International and the Spatial Econometrics Association. Additionally, he is the founding director for the Center for Geospatial Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. The Center focuses on fundamental research in spatial analysis, open source software and open science, collaborative interdisciplinary research, and dissemination and training.

He has earned some high-profile awards in his field, including the Geoffrey J.D. Hewings award for young scholars who have made distinguished contributions to regional science.  He also has earned the David Boyce Award for his service to regional science and was presented with the Outstanding Service Award from the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Spatial Analysis and Modeling Specialty Group. This year, he gave the Spatial Economic Analysis Plenary Lecture at the European Regional Science Association meeting.

He is editor of the International Regional Science Review and of Geographical Analysis. He has given more than 200 presentations and guest lectures and has made nearly 1,000 contributions in the past year to PySAL. He has published more than 120 articles in academic journals and has been cited 7,662 times, and Google Scholar has ranked him in the top 5% of cited authors He currently has nearly $1M in research grants from the National Science Foundation.

Specific seminar titles, and meeting places if not listed, will follow, but we wanted to give all of you a chance to mark your calendars early for these events that you won’t want to miss!

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Christa Jensen Court

April 25, 2019, 325 Brooks Hall, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. 

Christa Jensen Court, Assistant Scientist, Food and Resource Economics Department; Assistant Director, Economic Impacts Analysis Program, University of Florida

Christa (Jensen) Court has won the Early Career/Doctoral Student Award for Best Paper at the British and Irish Section of the Regional Science Association International. She was also selected for the Southern Regional Science Association Barry M. Moriarty Student Paper Award. Her research interests include regional economic modeling, the energy-water nexus, applied spatial econometrics, environmental accounting, and connections in human and natural systems. Christa was inducted into the 2014 class of Generation Next: 40 under 40. This annual award for West Virginians showcases the next wave of leaders from various professions who are making a difference in their profession and in their community. She is a member of the International Society for Ecological Economics, Regional Science Association International, North American Regional Science Council, Southern Regional Science Association (SRSA), Regional Science Association International—British and Irish Section, and the Western Regional Science Association. She holds the position of treasurer at the SRSA.

She co-developed an input-output software package called IO-Snap designed to give users maximum flexibility in manipulating the Bureau of Economic Analysis input-output data from the U.S. national Supply and Use tables. With this software, users can edit, modify, and configure national and regional input-output data for a wide variety of analytical purposes, including having data for all states available in a highly aggregated level of reporting that best illustrates inter-regional and inter-temporal comparisons.

Her latest research is ganging Florida’s Gross State Product generated by agriculture, natural resources and food industries. She and her team changed their method for calculating their results from that which had been used in previous years. This year, they recalculated results for years 2007 through 2015 and expressed the results in 2016 dollars. This change in calculations enabled them to compare trends for individual industry sectors to see if the growth rate was steady.

Court co-developed an online comprehensive assessment form that extension agents can use to interview producers and to make first-hand observations after a natural disaster in Florida. This information is then presented to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the state offices of the United States Department of Agriculture to request disaster relief funds from Hurricane Irma that struck in 2017. Natural disasters cost the Florida economy between $5 and $10 billion annually.

She also produced a report to bring more jobs to Florida based on sales in Florida’s forest industry. This report was updated from 2003 numbers, and the numbers for 2016 indicated the industry increased employment figures by 19.53 percent, rising from 30,164 to 36,055.

She has given nearly 30 presentations and seminars and has nearly 20 publications. She is a First Generation Advocate, First Generation Student Support at the University of Florida. This avocation is to help students who are first in their family to get a college degree by helping them develop strategies to have a successful college experience, build academic and professional confidence, to access campus resources, and to connect to peer and professional mentors.
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