Person:
Roberts, Mark

Urban, Resilience and Land Global Practice, The World Bank
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Urban economics, Urban development, Spatial economics, Regional development
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Urban, Resilience and Land Global Practice, The World Bank
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Last updated January 31, 2023
Biography
Mark Roberts is a senior urban economist with the Urban, Resilience and Land Global Practice of the World Bank, where his work currently focuses on the East Asia and Pacific region. Prior to joining the World Bank, Mark was a lecturer in spatial economics at the University of Cambridge and a fellow in economics at Murray Edwards College, a member college of the University of Cambridge. Mark has published widely in leading peer-reviewed journals on the topic of spatial economic development and is a former coeditor of the journal Spatial Economic Analysis. He is coauthor of the World Bank’s South Asia Region Flagship Report, Leveraging Urbanization in South Asia, and its Latin America and Caribbean Flagship Report, Raising the Bar for Productive Cities in Latin America and the Caribbean. He has also worked on both the Europe and Central Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa regions, and acts as an advisor to Bank teams working on the analysis of processes of urban and spatial development. A native of the United Kingdom, Mark holds a PhD in land economy and an MA in economics from the University of Cambridge as well as an MS in economics from Warwick University.
Citations 6 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 5 of 5
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    Hukou and Highways: The Impact of China’s Spatial Development Policies on Urbanization and Regional Inequality
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-06) Bosker, Maarten ; Deichmann, Uwe ; Roberts, Mark
    China has used two main spatial policies to shape its geographic patterns of development: restricted labor mobility through the Hukou residential registration system and massive infrastructure investment, notably a 96,000 kilometer national expressway network. This paper develops a structural new economic geography model to examine the impacts of these policies. Fitting the model to available data allows simulating counterfactual scenarios comparing each policy’s respective impact on regional economic development and urbanization patterns across China. The results suggest large overall economic benefits from constructing the national expressway network and abolishing the Hukou system. Yet, the spatial impacts of the two policies are very different. The construction of the national expressway network reinforced existing urbanization patterns. The initially lagging regions not connected to the network have not benefitted much from its construction. By contrast, removal of the Hukou restrictions, which Chinese policy makers are considering, would result in much more widespread welfare gains, allowing everyone to gain by moving to where he or she is most productive. Removal of the Hukou restrictions would also promote urbanization in currently lagging (inland) regions, mostly by stimulating rural to urban migration.
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    On the Road to Prosperity? The Economic Geography of China’s National Expressway Network
    ( 2010-11-01) Roberts, Mark ; Deichmann, Uwe ; Fingleton, Bernard ; Shi, Tuo
    Over the past two decades, China has embarked on an ambitious program of expressway network expansion. By facilitating market integration, this program aims both to promote efficiency at the national level and to contribute to the catch-up of lagging inland regions with prosperous Eastern ones. This paper evaluates the aggregate and spatial economic impacts of China's newly constructed National Expressway Network, focussing, in particular, on its short-run impacts. To achieve this aim, the authors adopt a counterfactual approach based on the estimation and simulation of a structural "new economic geography" model. Overall, they find that aggregate Chinese real income was approximately 6 percent higher than it would have been in 2007 had the expressway network not been built. Although there is considerable heterogeneity in the results, the authors do not find evidence of a significant reduction in disparities across prefectural level regions or of a reduction in urban-rural disparities. If anything, the expressway network appears to have reinforced existing patterns of spatial inequality, although, over time, these will likely be reduced by enhanced migration.
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    Time to ACT: Realizing Indonesia's Urban Potential
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2019-10-03) Roberts, Mark ; Gil Sander, Frederico ; Tiwari, Sailesh ; Roberts, Mark ; Gil Sander, Frederico ; Tiwari, Sailesh
    In over 70 years since its independence, Indonesia has been transformed by urbanization, and within the next quarter of a century, its transition to an urban society will be almost complete. While urbanization has produced considerable benefits for Indonesians, urbanization has the potential to deliver more prosperity, inclusiveness and livability. Time to ACT: Realizing Indonesia's Urban Potential explores the extent to which urbanization in Indonesia has delivered in terms of prosperity, inclusiveness, and livability, and the fundamental reforms that can help the country realize its urban potential. In doing so, the report introduces a new policy framework - the ACT framework - to guide policymaking. This framework emphasizes three policy principles - the need to Augment the provision and quality of infrastructure and basic services across urban and rural locations; the need to better Connect places and people with jobs and opportunities; and the need to Target lagging areas and marginalized groups through well-designed place-based policies, as well as thoughtful urban planning and design. Using this framework, the report provides policy recommendations differentiated by types of place, grounded in solid empirical evidence
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    Definition Matters: Metropolitan Areas and Agglomeration Economies in a Large Developing Country
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-09) Bosker, Maarten ; Park, Jane ; Roberts, Mark
    A variety of approaches to delineate metropolitan areas have been developed. Systematic comparisons of these approaches in terms of the urban landscape that they generate are however few. Our paper aims to fill this gap. We focus on Indonesia and make use of the availability of data on commuting flows, remotely-sensed nighttime lights, and spatially fine-grained population, to construct metropolitan areas using the different approaches that have been developed in the literature. We find that the maps and characteristics of Indonesia’s urban landscape vary substantially depending on the approach used. Moreover, combining information on the metro areas generated by the different approaches with detailed micro-data from Indonesia’s national labor force survey, we show that the estimated size of the agglomeration wage premium depends nontrivially on the approach used to define metropolitan areas.
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    Definition Matters: Metropolitan Areas and Agglomeration Economies in a Large Developing Country
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-11) Bosker, Maarten ; Park, Jane ; Roberts, Mark
    A variety of approaches to delineate metropolitan areas have been developed. Systematic comparisons of these approaches in terms of the urban landscape that they generate are however few. This paper aims to fill this gap. The paper focuses on Indonesia and makes use of the availability of data on commuting flows, remotely-sensed nighttime lights, and spatially fine-grained population, to construct metropolitan areas using the different approaches that have been developed in the literature. The analysis finds that the maps and characteristics of Indonesia’s urban landscape vary substantially, depending on the approach used. Moreover, combining information on the metro areas generated by the different approaches with detailed micro-data from Indonesia's national labor force survey, the paper shows that the estimated size of the agglomeration wage premium depends nontrivially on the approach used to define metropolitan areas.