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
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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    Leveraging Urbanization in South Asia: Managing Spatial Transformation for Prosperity and Livability
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2016) Ellis, Peter ; Roberts, Mark
    The number of people in South Asia's cities rose by 130 million between 2000 and 2011--more than the entire population of Japan. This was linked to an improvement in productivity and a reduction in the incidence of extreme poverty. But the region's cities have struggled to cope with the pressure of population growth on land, housing, infrastructure, basic services, and the environment. As a result, urbanization in South Asia remains underleveraged in its ability to deliver widespread improvements in both prosperity and livability. Leveraging Urbanization in South Asia is about the state of South Asia's urbanization and the market and policy failures that have taken the region’s urban areas to where they are today--and the hard policy actions needed if the region’s cities are to leverage urbanization better. This publication provides original empirical and diagnostic analysis of urbanization and related economic trends in the region. It also discusses in detail the key policy areas, the most fundamental being urban governance and finance, where actions must be taken to make cities more prosperous and livable.
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    International Growth Spillovers, Geography and Infrastructure
    ( 2009-12-01) Roberts, Mark ; Deichmann, Uwe
    There is significant academic evidence that growth in one country tends to have a positive impact on growth in neighboring countries. This paper contributes to this literature by assessing whether growth spillovers tend to vary significantly across world regions and by investigating the contribution of transport and communication infrastructure in promoting neighborhood effects. The study is global, but the main interest is on Sub-Saharan Africa. The authors define neighborhoods both in geographic terms and by membership in the same regional trade association. The analysis finds significant evidence for heterogeneity in growth spillovers, which are strong between OECD countries and essentially absent in Sub-Saharan Africa. The analysis further finds strong interaction between infrastructure and being a landlocked country. This suggests that growth spillovers from regional "success stories" in Sub-Saharan Africa and other lagging world regions will depend on first strengthening the channels through which such spillovers can spread -- most importantly infrastructure endowments.
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    Raising the Bar for Productive Cities in Latin America and the Caribbean
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2018-06-12) Ferreyra, Maria Marta ; Roberts, Mark
    With more than 70 percent of its population living in cities, Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is among the most urbanized regions in the world. Yet, although its cities are, on average, more productive than those elsewhere in the world, their productivity lags that of North American and Western European cities. Closing this gap provides LAC with the opportunity to raise living standards and join the ranks of the world’s richest countries. Raising the Bar: Cities and Productivity in Latin America and the Caribbean is about the productivity of cities in LAC and the factors that help to explain its determination. Based on original empirical research, the report documents the high levels of population density and other features of LAC cities that mark them out from those in the rest of the world. The report also studies the role of three key factors – urban form, skills, and access to markets – in determining the productivity of LAC cities. It shows that while excessive congestion forces and inadequate metropolitan coordination seem to be stifling the benefits of agglomeration, LAC cities benefit from strong human capital externalities. It also finds that, within individual LAC countries, cities are poorly integrated with one another, which contributes to large differences in performance across cities and undermines their aggregate contribution to productivity at the national level.
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    Estimating Urban Poverty Consistently Across Countries
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022-07-12) Combes, Pierre-Philippe ; Nakamura, Shohei ; Roberts, Mark ; Stewart, Benjamin
    Global poverty monitored by the World Bank for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is reported only at the national level, lacking a breakdown between urban and rural areas. A key challenge to producing globally comparable estimates of urban poverty is the need for consistent definitions of urban areas and poverty. This note illustrates an innovative approach to integrating globally consistent urban and poverty measurements to estimate urban poverty statistics that are directly comparable across countries. Two approaches to quantifying urban, the Degree of Urbanization and the Dartboard approaches are applied in seven case countries. By combining these delineations with official household budget survey data, poverty is estimated with international poverty lines. The empirical illustrations demonstrate that the proposed approach is potentially useful to improve the monitoring of global poverty.