Research Interests

Dean Helsley's research focuses on the growth and development of urban areas, the operation of private land markets, and the economic impacts of government tax, spending and regulatory policies.

Much of his work examines the economics of business clusters, including studies of the underlying economic forces that cause specialized clusters to form, and the impacts of clusters on innovation, entrepreneurial activity, organizational form, productivity, earnings and city size.

He has also studied the impacts of economic growth on land and housing prices, the economics of urban sprawl, urban blight and urban redevelopment, and the causes and consequences of privatization in the public sector. Professor Helsley has held a variety of editorial positions, including serving as co-editor of the Journal of Urban Economics from 2009 to 2012.

His teaching has focused on courses in urban and real estate economics, managerial economics, and microeconomic theory.

“My research focuses on how we can create more opportunities in cities through economic development, innovation and entrepreneurship, while also addressing what can be done to make cities more sustainable and liveable.”
- Dean Robert Helsley

Selected publications in refereed journals:


Summary of research interests:

  • Urban and public economics
  • Agglomeration
  • Developers and city formation
  • Urban spatial structure
  • Land pricing
  • The private provision of collective goods
  • Private government
  • The economics of crime
  • Urban political economics