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Joshua Drucker, PhD, Associate Professor

Joshua Drucker's interests center around the processes of regional economic development and transformation, seeking to understand phenomena of growth, decline, and adjustment in order to design of policies to achieve and sustain positive economic outcomes. Currently, his research is focused in three main areas. The first investigates the factors external to the firm that help determine business and economic performance. The effects of the regional environment on business decisions and industry outcomes are important for interpreting and forecasting economic processes and for providing a mechanism for intentionally affecting economic trajectories. Drucker’s work in this area examines agglomeration, industrial structure, entrepreneurial competition, and economic development policy, and their relationships with economic activity.

A second line of research encompasses innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship: the ways in which knowledge and competence are generated, the interactions among the actors and entities that create and operationalize new ideas, and how these actions relate to regional development. As the basis of science and technology, and the origin of new industries as well as the primary source of improvement in existing industries, innovation and entrepreneurship are key in the transformation and development of modern economies. Drucker’s research in this area includes evaluating the emerging policy of urban innovation districts, the economic impacts of higher education institutions and other anchoring organizations, the processes by which innovation takes place within and across firms, and examining the intersection of creativity and human capital in economic development.

Drucker also is interested in advancing methods of economic analysis useful for practitioners. He is expert in the practice of economic impact assessment, and has created impact estimates and related analyses for a variety of organizations and clients. Recent research includes measuring the spatial distribution and impact of wage theft in Illinois and gauging the contributions of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Drucker participated in a multi-year project to assist defense communities in the United States to apply economic data in support of efforts to increase resiliency in the face of changing military missions and other economic shocks.

Originally from the Detroit area, Drucker earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Michigan and Masters and Ph.D. degrees in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been a research associate with the Technology Partnership Practice of the Battelle Memorial Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, engaging in technology-based economic development research and consulting. He also worked with the North Carolina Department of Commerce and the Southern Growth Policies Board on projects ranging from industry and impact studies and economic development strategies to analyses of technology policy and the development and programming of automated economic analysis tools. Drucker has been a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners since 2002. Drucker joined the Department of Urban Planning and Policy in August 2008.

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Research Interests

Economic development; regional industrial structure and competition; anchor institutions; technology-based economic development; innovation and entrepreneurship; impact assessment; urban and regional economics; analytical methods for planning

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UPA 306 Urban Policy Analysis
UPP 502 Planning Skills
UPP 530 Economic Development I
UPP 531 Economic Development II
UPP 535 Planning for Innovation

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Drucker, J. (Forthcoming). Economic impact analysis amid rapid change: Challenges, strategies, and examples from defense communities. Journal of Planning Education and Research. (Abstract or article access here.)

Drucker, J. (Forthcoming). Reconsidering the regional economic development impacts of higher education institutions in the United States. Regional Studies. (Abstract or article access here.)

Xiao, Y., & Drucker, J. (2013). Does economic diversity enhance regional disaster resilience? Journal of the American Planning Association, 79 (2): 148-160. (Abstract or article access here.)

Drucker, J., & Feser, E. (2012). Regional industrial structure and agglomeration economies: An analysis of productivity in three manufacturing industries. Regional Science and Urban Economics, 42 (1-2): 1-24. (Abstract or article access here.)

Drucker, J. (2011). Regional industrial concentration in the United States: Trends and implications. Economic Geography, 87 (4): 421-452. (Abstract or article access here.)

Donegan, M., Drucker, J., Goldstein, H., Lowe, N., & Malizia, E. (2008). Which indicators explain metropolitan economic performance best? Traditional or creative class. Journal of the American Planning Association, 74 (2): 180-195. (Abstract or article access here.)

Drucker, J., & Goldstein, H. (2007). Assessing the regional economic development impacts of universities: A review of current approaches. International Regional Science Review, 30 (1): 1-27. (Abstract or article access here.)

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