Professor of Economic Sociology - Sciences Po

Research Programs


Professor of Regional and International Development Department of Urban Planning School of Public Policy and Social Research - UCLA

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 Michael Storper 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.
Michael Storper is 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. Michael Storper's 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.

Sciences PO (Paris)
Courses on Globalization, Master of Public Affairs
Courses on Seminar of fondation

UCLA - School of Public Affairs
Courses on Economic Development of regions, Master.
Courses on Globalization and developement of regions, Master.

Offices Held

Academic director of Master Public Affairs (2004-2011)
Named to permanent chair in economic geography, London School of Economics, Michaelmas Term (2004)
Elected to the Chair in Economic Sociology, Institute of Political Studies, Paris (2003)
Professor of Economic Geography à la London School of Economics and Political Science (2002)
Named Visiting Centennial Professor of Economic Geography, LSE (2001)
Professor of Sociology, University of Marne-la-Vallée, France (1996/2002)
Professor of Regional and International Development, UCLA (USA) (1992/present)
Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) (1988/1992)
Professor of Regional and International Development à l’UCLA (1982)
Assistant Professor, UCLA (1982/88)

Awards, Fellowships, Honors

The Regional Studies Association’s Sir Peter Hall Award
Named Fellow of the British Academy

Elected to the British Academy of Social Sciences
Journal of Economic Geography names 2 of his papers as among the “best ten papers of the last ten years” (Buzz, and Rethinking Human Capital)
Prime d’excellence scientifique (Reward for Scientific Excellence), Minister of Higher Education and Research, France

Doctorate honoris causa University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

Major Research Grant, Haynes Foundation, “Contrasts in Economic Development, Los Angeles and San Francisco, 1970-2007.”

Most highly cited member of all faculties of urban planning in the USA, 1998-2002 (Stiftel study, JCSP 2004, Table 4).


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley. Economic Geography.
Dissertation title: "The Labor Theory of Industrial Location: Technical Innovation, the Labor Process, and the Social Geography of Industrial Labor." 1982

M.A., University of California, Berkeley. Economic Geography.
Thesis title: "The Metropolitan Decentralization of Industry: A Critique of Current Theories." 1979

B.A., University of California, Berkeley. Sociology and History, summa cum laude. 1975

Professional Career

Professor of Regional and International Development, Department of Urban Planning School of Public Policy and Social Research- UCLA

Professor of Economic Sociology, Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (“Sciences Po”)
Academic Director, Master of Public Affairs

Professor of Economic Geography, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK

The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies
The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies, Stanford University Press, 2015.

"Governing the Large Metropolis", Territory, Politics, Governance, June 2014.

"Is Specialization Good for Regional Economic Development?", Regional Studies, May 2014.

"The Nature of Cities: The Scope and Limits of Urban Theory", International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, March 2014.

"From financialization to sociospatial polarization of the city? Evidence from Canada", Economic Georgraphy, January 2014.

"Commentary on 2013 Roepke Lecture, Financial Literacy in Context", Economic Geography, January 2014.

Keys to the City: How Economics, Institutions, Social Interaction, and Politics Shape Development
Keys to the City: How Economics, Institutions, Social Interaction, and Politics Shape Development, 2013.

"The Digital Skin of the City", Working papers du Programme "Villes & territoires", January 2013.

"The Sources of Urban Development: Wages, Housing and Amenity Gaps across American Cities", Journal of Regional Science, February 2012.

"From Retro to Avant Garde: A Reply to Paul Krugman’s ‘New Economic Geography at Middle Age", Regional Studies, 2011.

"Why Do Regions Develop and Change: The Challenge for Geography and Economics", Journal of Economic Geography, 2011.

"Should Places Help One Another? Justice, Efficiency and Economic Geography", European Urban and Regional Studies, 2011.

Review of Edward Glaeser, “Triumph of the City”, Journal of Economic Geography, 10 (6), p. 1079-108, 2011.

"Communities, Rules and Institutions: A Cross-Country Investigation", Scienze Regionali, 2011.

"Cohesion Policy in the European Union: Growth, Geography, Institutions", Journal of Common Market Studies, 2011.

"Agglomeration, Trade and Spatial Development: Bringing Dynamics Back. In", Journal of Regional Science, 2010.

"Why Does a City Grow? Specialization, Human Capital, or Institutions?”", Urban Studies, 2010.

"Contexte, localisation et commerce international : vers une autre "grande transformation ?"", Laffont, 2010.

"Human Geography and the Institutional Determinants of Economic Growth", Progress in Human Geography, 2010.

"Webcast interview on “Metropolitan Growth in the Paris Region»", La Vie des idées, February 2009.

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