At a time when American cities must adapt to persisting remote work and leaps in AI technology, entrenched interests stand in the way of needed change. As the late political scientist Mancur Olson observed, incumbents have strong incentives to protect their advantages, often at the expense of outsiders and citywide needs, which make reform impracticable. How can cities break free of the Olson trap? How can they open economic opportunity for all and spur critical innovation in the process? The 2023 Wilson Lecture presented Professor Edward Glaeser's latest research on global reforms that unlock opportunities to outsiders and loosen insiders' grip on government, providing examples for America's urban leaders.
Edward Glaeser is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics and Chairman of the Department of Economics at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1992. He regularly teaches microeconomic theory and, occasionally, urban and public economics.
Glaeser’s research focuses on the determinants of city growth and the role of cities as centers of idea transmission. He has published dozens of papers on cities, economic growth, and law and economics. Glaeser is the author of Cities, Agglomeration, and Spatial Equilibrium (2008); Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier (2012); and coauthor of Rethinking Federal Housing Policy: How to Make Housing Plentiful and Affordable (2008). He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.