Klaus Desmet
Altshuler Centennial Interdisciplinary Professor

Department of Economics & Cox School of Business
Southern Methodist University


Research Associate, NBER

Research Affiliate, CEPR

Research Associate, UC3M



SMU Dept of Economics

3300 Dyer, Suite 301

Dallas, TX 75205

kdesmet at smu dot edu


My home town now and then

My home island


Classes 2020-2021 (Spring)


International Macro Theory and Policy


Geography, Long-Run Growth and Political Economy







Papers published in refereed academic journals



             1.   The Cultural Divide,” Economic Journal, forthcoming (with Romain Wacziarg). Online Appendix. Coverage in The Economist and UCLA Anderson Review. Related Pro-Market blog article.


             2.   Urban Growth Shadows,” Journal of Urban Economics, forthcoming (with David Cuberes and Jordan Rappaport). Online Appendix.


             3.   Understanding Spatial Variation in COVID-19 across U.S. Counties,” Journal of Urban Economics: Insights, forthcoming (with Romain Wacziarg). Online Appendix. Replication files. Coverage in National Post. Related LSE US Centre blog post.


             4.   Evaluating the Economic Cost of Coastal Flooding,” American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, forthcoming (with Robert Kopp, Scott Kulp, Dávid Krisztián Nagy, Michael Oppenheimer, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg and Ben Strauss). Replication files. Related Vox column, policy brief and video. Coverage on NPR and AEA Research Highlights Podcast.


             5.   The Shrinking Advantage of Market Potential,” Journal of Development Economics, 2020, 147, 102529 (with Marius Brülhart and Gian-Paolo Klinke).


             6.   Spatial Competition, Innovation and Institutions: The Industrial Revolution and the Great Divergence,” Journal of Economic Growth, 2020, 25, 1-35 (with Avner Greif and Stephen Parente).


             7.   The Geography of Diversity and the Provision of  Public Goods,” Journal of Development Economics, 2020, 143, 102384 (with Joseph Gomes and Ignacio Ortuńo). Online Appendix. Related Vox column. Coverage in Quartz and La Vanguardia.


             8.   The Geography of Development,” Journal of Political Economy, 2018, 126, 903-983, lead article, winner of Lucas Prize (with Dávid Krisztián Nagy and Esteban Rossi-Hansberg). Online Appendix with Video Simulations. Replication Files. Related Vox column. Coverage in The Economist, La Nación and Le nouvel Economiste.


             9.   Peripheral Diversity: Transfers versus Public Goods,” Social Choice and Welfare, 2017, 49, 787-823 (with Ignacio Ortuńo and Shlomo Weber).


           10.   Culture, Ethnicity and Diversity,” American Economic Review, 2017, 107, 2479-2513, lead article (with Ignacio Ortuńo and Romain Wacziarg). Online Appendix. Related Vox column. Interview in Trends.


           11.   The Settlement of the United States, 1800-2000: The Long Transition to Gibrat’s Law,” Journal of Urban Economics, 2017, 98, 50-68 (with Jordan Rappaport). Online Appendix.


           12.   Asia’s Geographic Development,” Asian Development Review, 2017, 34, 1-24 (with Dávid Krisztián Nagy and Esteban Rossi-Hansberg).


           13.   On the Spatial Economic Impact of Global Warming,” Journal of Urban Economics, 2015, 88,16-37 (with Esteban Rossi-Hansberg). Coverage in The Economist. Related Vox column.


           14.   The Spatial Development of India,” Journal of Regional Science, 2015, 55, 10-30 (with Ejaz Ghani, Steve O’Connell and Esteban Rossi-Hansberg). Related Vox column (reproduced in Ideas for India). Economic Premise note. Coverage in Financial Express.


           15.   Resistance to Technology Adoption: The Rise and Decline of Guilds,” Review of Economic Dynamics, 2014, 17, 437-458 (with Stephen Parente). Related Vox column.


           16.   Spatial Development,” American Economic Review, 2014, 104, 1211-43 (with Esteban Rossi-Hansberg). Replication Files.


           17.   Urban Accounting and Welfare,” American Economic Review, 2013, 103, 2296-2327 (with Esteban Rossi-Hansberg). Related Vox column (in Japanese). Replication Files.


           18.   The Evolution of Markets and the Revolution of Industry: A Unified Theory of Growth,” Journal of Economic Growth, 2012, 17, 205-234 (with Stephen Parente).


           19.   Hub-and-Spoke Free Trade Areas,” Canadian Journal of Economics, 2012, 45, 942-977 (with Giovanni Facchini and George Deltas).


           20.   Innovation in Space,” American Economic Review P&P, 2012, 102, 447-52 (with Esteban Rossi-Hansberg).


           21.   The Political Economy of Linguistic Cleavages,” Journal of Development Economics, 2012, 97, 322-338 (with Ignacio Ortuńo and Romain Wacziarg). ELF and Polarization Data (different levels of aggregation).


           22.   The Stability and Breakup of Nations: A Quantitative Analysis,” Journal of Economic Growth, 2011, 16, 183-213 (with Michel Le Breton, Ignacio Ortuńo and Shlomo Weber). Coverage in BBC, Radio Nacional de Espańa, El Mundo.


           23.   Bigger is Better: Market Size, Demand Elasticity and Innovation,” International Economic Review, 2010, 51, 319-333 (with Stephen Parente).


           24.   On Spatial Dynamics,” Journal of Regional Science, 2010, 50, 43-63 (with Esteban Rossi-Hansberg).


           25.   Spatial Growth and Industry Age,” Journal of Economic Theory, 2009, 144, 2477-2502 (with Esteban Rossi-Hansberg). Related Vox column.


           26.   Linguistic Diversity and Redistribution,” Journal of the European Economic Association, 2009, 7, 1291-1318 (with Ignacio Ortuńo and Shlomo Weber). Linguistic heterogeneity data (accounting for distances)


           27.   Foreign Direct Investment and Spillovers: Gradualism May Be Better,” Canadian Journal of Economics, 2008, 41, 926-953 (with Felipe Meza and Juan Rojas).


           28.   Rational Underdevelopment,” Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 2007, 109, 1-24 (with Ignacio Ortuńo).


           29.   Inflation in Open Economies with Complete Markets,” Economic Theory, 2007, 31, 271-291 (with Marco Celentani and J. Ignacio Conde).


           30.   Employment Concentration across U.S. Counties,” Regional Science and Urban Economics, 2006, 36, 482-509 (with Marcel Fafchamps).


           31.   Changes in the Spatial Concentration of Employment across U.S. Counties: A Sectoral Analysis 1972-2000?,” Journal of Economic Geography, 2005, 5(3), 261-284 (with Marcel Fafchamps).


           32.   Implementing R&D Policies: An Analysis of Spain's Pharmaceutical Research Program,” Research Policy, 2004, 33, 1493-1507 (with Praveen Kujal and Félix Lobo).


           33.   Endogenous Policy Leads to Incomplete Risk Sharing,” Review of Economic Dynamics, 7, 2004, 758-787 (with Marco Celentani and J. Ignacio Conde).


           34.   A Simple Model of Uneven Development and Overtaking,” Economic Journal, 2002, 112, 894-918.


           35.   Accounting for the Mexican Banking Crisis,” Emerging Markets Review, 2000, 1, 165-181.


           36.   A Perfect Foresight Model of Regional Development and Skill Specialization,” Regional Science and Urban Economics, 2000, 30, 221-242.



Completed working papers



           37.   Expanding the Measurement of Culture with a Sample of Two Billion Humans,” NBER Working Paper #27827, CEPR Discussion Paper #15315, September 2020 (with Edmond Awad, Manuel Cebrián, Ángel Cuevas, Rubén Cuevas, Ignacio Martín, Nick Obradovich, Ignacio Ortuńo-Ortín, Ömer Özak and Iyad Rahwan).


           38.   Local Sectoral Specialization in a Warming World,” CEPR Discussion Paper #15491, November 2020 (with Bruno Conte, Dávid Krisztián Nagy and Esteban Rossi-Hansberg).



Book chapters 



           39.   The Geography of Development within Countries,” in: Duranton, G., Henderson, J.V. and Strange, W. (Eds.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics vol. 5., Elsevier: Amsterdam, 2015 (with Vernon Henderson).


           40.   Linguistic Cleavages and Economic Development,” in: Ginsburgh, V. and Weber, S. (Eds.), Palgrave Handbook of Economics and Language, Palgrave McMillan, 2016 (with Ignacio Ortuńo and Romain Wacziarg).


           41.   Analyzing Urban Systems: Have Mega-Cities Become Too Large?,” in: Glaeser, E. and Joshi-Ghani, A. (Eds.), The Urban Imperative: Towards Competitive Cities, Oxford University Press, 2015 (with Esteban Rossi-Hansberg).



Other published work 



           42.   Discussion of The Bank Lending Channel: Evidence from Emerging Economies,” Moneda y Crédito, 2003, 216, 201-203.


           43.   Breaking Down the Barriers to Firm Growth in Europe,” Bruegel Blueprint 18, 2012 (with Loris Rubini, Facundo Piguillem and Aránzazu Crespo).


           44.   Book review of “A Culture of Growth: The Origins of the Modern Economy” by Joel Mokyr, Journal of Economic History, 2018, 78, 1261-1263.