Max Nathan

Max Nathan
University College London | UCL · Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis

About

69
Publications
24,065
Reads
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1,469
Citations
Citations since 2017
30 Research Items
1133 Citations
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Introduction
I'm an Associate Professor in Applied Urban Sciences at UCL and associate in CEP's Urban Programme. I co-founded the Centre for Cities and the What Works Centre for Local Economic Growth. I'm also affiliated to CAGE, IZA and NIESR.

Publications

Publications (69)
Article
Cluster policies are popular with policymakers, but we know surprisingly little about their effectiveness. This paper evaluates the causal impact of a flagship UK technology cluster programme that uses ‘light touch’, market-orientated interventions. I build a simple framework and identify effects using synthetic controls plus placebo tests to handl...
Article
Full-text available
What does the pandemic mean for the future of cities? We’ve seen predictions that COVID-19 is an ‘extinction-level event’ for expensive, commuter-driven urban cores. We’ve also seen confidence: if the ‘death of distance’ didn’t finish off big cities in the 1980s, why should this time be different? A key uncertainty is how working from home affects...
Article
Full-text available
We combine theory and evidence on incubator and accelerator programmes, and their effects on urban economic development. These structured co-working programmes have grown rapidly. However, a rich descriptive literature reveals little about their impact on participants or surrounding urban areas. We situate programmes in a conceptual framework of co...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we shed new light on the links between firm-level innovation and growth. We introduce data that capture a difficult-to-observe aspect of firms' innovative activity – new product/service launches – at scale. We show that our novel measures complement existing innovation metrics. We build a simple framework covering firm-level innovati...
Preprint
Full-text available
Economic geographers have paid much attention to the cultural and creative industries, both for their propensity to cluster in urban settings, and their potential to drive urban economic development. However, evidence on the latter is surprisingly sparse. In this paper we explore the long-term, causal impacts of the cultural and creative industries...
Article
Full-text available
Economic geographers have paid much attention to the cultural and creative industries, both for their propensity to cluster in urban settings, and their potential to drive urban economic development. However, evidence on the latter is surprisingly sparse. In this article, we explore the long-term, causal impacts of the cultural and creative industr...
Article
Full-text available
This paper proposes a new methodological framework to identify economic clusters over space and time. We employ a unique open source dataset of geolocated and archived business webpages and interrogate them using Natural Language Processing to build bottom-up classifications of economic activities. We validate our method on an iconic UK tech cluste...
Article
Old immigration hubs and new ones worldwide have experienced rapid and increasing movements of people from more varied national, ethnic, linguistic, and religious backgrounds. These movements have emerged along with a diversification of migration channels and legal statuses. In concurrent but differing ways, these migration-driven trends profoundly...
Article
This chapter examines the economic impacts of superdiversity in theory and practice, drawing on the experience of the United Kingdom in the early 2000s. Superdiversity has a largely urban footprint, reflecting the affordances of big cities and the deep history of the “multicultural city.” The chapter builds a simple framework to illustrate superdiv...
Article
Full-text available
Cities around the world are the epicentres of the coronavirus pandemic: both in the first wave, as the disease spread from East Asia, and now, as many countries enter a third wave of infections. These spatial patterns are still far from properly understood, though there is no shortage of possible explanations. I set out the emerging theories about...
Preprint
In this paper, we shed new light on the links between firm-level innovation and growth. We introduce data that capture a difficult-to-observe aspect of firms' innovative activity – new product/service launches – at scale. We show that our novel measures complement existing innovation metrics. We build a simple framework covering firm-level innovati...
Preprint
Economic geographers have paid much attention to the cultural and creative industries, both for their propensity to cluster in urban settings, and their potential to drive urban economic development. However, evidence on the latter is surprisingly sparse. In this paper we explore the long-term, causal impacts of the cultural and creative industries...
Preprint
This paper proposes a new methodological framework to identify economic clusters over space and time. We employ a unique open source dataset of geolocated and archived business webpages and interrogate them using Natural Language Processing to build bottom-up classi- fications of economic activities. We validate our method on an iconic UK tech clus...
Article
The creative industries have received much attention from economic geographers and others, both for their propensity to co-locate in urban settings and their potential to drive urban economic development. However, evidence on the latter is surprisingly sparse. In this paper we explore the long-term, causal impacts of the creative industries on surr...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The creative industries have received much attention from economic geographers and others, both for their propensity to co-locate in urban settings and their potential to drive urban economic development. However, evidence on the latter is surprisingly sparse. In this paper we explore the long-term, causal impacts of the creative industries on surr...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite academic scepticism, cluster policies remain popular with policymakers. This paper evaluates the causal impact of a flagship UK technology cluster programme. I build a simple framework and identify effects using difference-in-differences and synthetic controls on rich microdata. I further test for timing, cross-space variation, scaling and...
Article
Full-text available
This paper compares the creative economies of the US and the UK regions and nations using high-quality administrative microdata spanning the period 2011–13. The creative industries are highly urbanized in both countries. However, important differences are found in the size, density and diversity of creative activity between the two countries, which...
Article
Full-text available
We explore place branding as an economic development strategy for technology clusters, using London’s ‘Tech City’ initiative as a case study. We site place branding in a larger family of policies that develop spatial imaginaries and specify affordances and constraints on place brands and brand-led strategies. Using mixed methods over a long timefra...
Preprint
Full-text available
We explore place branding as an economic development strategy for technology clusters, using London's 'Tech City' initiative as a case study. We site place branding in a larger family of policies that develop spatial imaginaries, and specify affordances and constraints on place brands and brand-led strategies. Using mixed methods over a long timefr...
Article
Full-text available
We explore place branding as an economic development strategy for technology clusters, using London’s ‘Tech City’ initiative as a case study. We site place branding in a larger family of policies that develop spatial imaginaries, and specify affordances and constraints on place brands and brand-led strategies. Using mixed methods over a long timefr...
Article
Full-text available
Policymakers need to understand innovation in high-profile sectors like technology. This can be surprisingly hard to observe. We combine UK administrative microdata, media and website content to develop experimental measures of firm innovation – new product/service launches – that complement existing metrics. We then explore the innovative performa...
Article
Full-text available
A growing literature examines how ethnic diversity influences economic outcomes in cities and inside firms. However, firm-city interactions remain more or less unexplored. Ethnic diversity may help firm performance by introducing a wider range of ideas, improving scrutiny, or improving international market access. Urban locations may amplify in-fir...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This report compares employment in the creative economies of the US and UK between 2011 and 2013, and for Canada in 2011. It does this using microdata from the UK’s Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) Annual Population Survey (APS), the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), the US Bureau of Labour Statistics’ Occupational Employment...
Article
Full-text available
This paper examines the characteristics of the collaborations between inventors in the United Kingdom (UK) by looking at what types of proximities – geographic, organisational, cognitive, social, and cultural–ethnic – between inventors are prevalent in partnerships that ultimately lead to technological progress. Using a new panel of UK inventors th...
Chapter
This chapter sets Connected Communities in the context of current thinking on local economic development in the 'post-regeneration' era. I briefly survey post-1997 state-led regeneration in the UK, tracing the shift in England from holistic neighbourhood-level social inclusion initiatives to economically-focused local growth programmes. Next, I hig...
Chapter
Introduction This chapter sets ‘Connected Communities’ in the context of current thinking on urban regeneration and local economic development, in particular, the state of area-based policies in the current ‘post-regeneration’ era (see Chapter One, this volume). The chapter first provides a brief run-through of post-1997 state-led regeneration in t...
Article
Full-text available
Governments around the world want to develop their ICT industries. Researchers and policymakers thus need a clear picture of digital businesses, but conventional datasets and typologies tend to lag real-world change. We use innovative ‘big data’ resources to perform an alternative analysis for all active companies in the UK, focusing on ICT-produci...
Article
Full-text available
Minority ethnic inventors play important roles in US innovation, especially in high-tech regions such as Silicon Valley. Do ‘ethnicity–innovation’ channels exist elsewhere? Ethnicity could influence innovation via production complementarities from diverse inventor communities, co-ethnic network externalities or individual ‘stars’. I explore these i...
Article
Full-text available
The digital industries cluster known as Silicon Roundabout has been quietly growing in East London since the 1990s. Rebranded Tech City, it is the focus of huge public and government attention. National and local policy makers wish to accelerate the local area’s development: such cluster policies are back in vogue as part of a reawakened interest i...
Book
'Urban Economics and Urban Policy pulls together cutting-edge developments in urban and regional economics and draws out their implications for urban policy. This new urban economics goes beyond simple comparative advantage and cost competitiveness of cities, and beyond simple views of capital and labor. It develops a much more complex and realisti...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, the economics of migration literature has shown a substantial growth in papers exploring host country impacts beyond the labour market. Specifically, researchers have begun to shift their attention from labour market and fiscal changes, towards exploring what we might call ‘the wider effects of migration’ on the production and cons...
Article
Full-text available
In most countries economic prosperity is very unevenly distributed. Regional, urban and neighbourhood policies are often based on concerns about these kinds of disparities, and reducing such disparities is a key policy objective in many countries. High quality evaluation is central to understanding how to meet these objectives. However, impact eval...
Article
Full-text available
This paper considers the appropriate spatial scale for industrial policy. Should policy focus on particular places, targeting clusters of firms that are spatially concentrated? Or should it, instead, be ‘space neutral’, refusing to discriminate between different areas unless absolutely necessary? We provide an overview of the literature and identif...
Article
Full-text available
A growing body of research is making links between diversity and the economic performance of cities and regions. Most of the underlying mechanisms take place within firms, but only a handful of organization-level studies have been conducted. We contribute to this underexplored literature by using a unique sample of 7,600 firms to investigate links...
Article
Full-text available
London is one of the world’s major cities, and one of its most diverse. London’s cultural diversity is widely seen as a social asset, but there is little hard evidence on its importance for the city’s businesses. Theory and evidence suggest various links between urban cultural diversity and innovation, at individual, firm and urban level. This pape...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, most European countries have experienced substantial demographic changes and rising cultural diversity. Understanding the social and economic impacts of these shifts is a major challenge for policymakers. Richard Florida’s ideas have provided a popular – and pervasive – framework for doing so. This paper assess Florida’s legacy and...
Thesis
This thesis examines the economic effects of cultural diversity; it focuses on recent experience in British cities, and on links between migrant and minority communities, diversity and innovation. Like many western societies Britain is becoming more culturally diverse, a largely urban process driven by net immigration and growing minority commu...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the Coalition Government's 'Tech City' proposals for East London. The Government wants to support the nascent tech cluster in East London, encourage inward investment, and develop the post-2012 Olympic Park into a high-tech hub. After examining the initiative in more detail, the article moves on to discuss why, and how, policy...
Article
Full-text available
This note discusses the UK government's proposed reforms to the land use planning system. It considers the case for reform and the extent to which the reforms are likely to meet their objectives. It then makes some suggestions on how the National Planning Policy Framework could be improved. It should be read alongside our companion evidence paper:...
Article
Full-text available
British cities are becoming more culturally diverse, with migration a main driver. Is this growing diversity good for urban economies? This paper explores, using a new 16-year panel of UK cities. Over time, net migration affects both local labour markets and the wider economy. Average labour market impacts appear neutral. Dynamic effects may be pos...
Article
Full-text available
London is one of the world's major cities and one of its most culturally diverse. A number of studies link diverse workforces and populations to levels of urban innovation, especially in global cities. While widely explored as a social phenomenon, there has been little work on the importance of London's diversity for the city's businesses. This pap...
Article
Full-text available
Innovation is an increasingly globalised phenomenon but the highest rates of visible innovation are found in and around cities. This paper explores the urban factors' that support innovative activity, focusing on English cities. Agglomeration economies can help explain both cities' resilience and the characteristics of urban markets, assets, networ...
Chapter
Richard Florida’s ‘creative class’ theory suggests that diverse, tolerant, ‘cool’ cities will outperform others. Ethnic minorities, gay people, and counter-culturalists attract high-skilled professionals: the presence of this ‘creative class’ ensures cities get the best jobs and most dynamic companies. This chapter examines Florida’s ideas, focusin...
Article
Full-text available
Richard Florida’s ‘creative class’ theory suggests that diverse, tolerant, ‘cool’ cities will outperform others. Ethnic minorities, gay people and counter-culturalists attract high-skilled professionals: the presence of this ‘creative class’ ensures cities get the best jobs and most dynamic companies. This paper examines Florida’s ideas, focusing o...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores the emerging regeneration strategies for inner suburban areas. Drawing on evidence from Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, the authors argue that regeneration of these inner areas can do more than upgrade housing and environments for existing residents; they can become more attractive to a wider range of households as convenient,...
Article
Ethnic inventors play important roles in US innovation systems, especially in high-tech regions like Silicon Valley. Do 'ethnicity-innovation' channels exist elsewhere? This paper investigates, using a new panel of UK patents microdata. In theory, ethnicity might affect positively innovation via 'star' migrants, network externalities from co-ethnic...
Article
Full-text available
This note considers the impact of land use planning on economic performance. Specifically, we discuss some of the economic and social costs of the current English system, some of which have been underplayed in public debate. Our aim is to provide evidence to better inform discussions of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). A companion pap...
Article
Full-text available
British cities have a surprisingly long history of cultural diversity. Recently they have become significantly more multicultural, with ‘super-diversity’ emerging in many urban neighbourhoods. Public interest in these changes is high, but there has been little research assessing their impacts. This paper makes two contributions to the field. First,...

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Projects

Projects (5)
Project
Exploring the urban impacts of COVID-19 and how cities may evolve around it in the coming years.
Project
Exploring the creative economy and its effects in cities and regions across the world.
Project
Strategy, governance and policy evaluation for cities.