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Nichola Lowe

Research Professor

Specialization: Economic Development


Dr. Lowe’s work focuses on the institutional arrangements that lead to more inclusive forms of economic development and, specifically, the role that practitioners can play in aligning growth and equity goals through their engagement with private business.

Lowe conducts research in three related areas of equitable economies. First, she focuses on how emergent labor market institutions shape employer behavior and open up opportunities for displaced and disadvantaged workers to transfer existing and newly acquired skills to more secure and technologically sophisticated work environments—a topic central to her forthcoming book Putting Skill to Work: How to Create Good Jobs in Uncertain Times (MIT Press). Second, she examines the link between innovation and local knowledge, especially the institutional factors that enhance the knowledge contribution of actors traditionally viewed as peripheral to processes of innovation and industrial upgrading. Finally, she focuses on how institutional actors responsible for promoting and financing state and local economic development collaborate in innovative ways to encourage more inclusionary business practices and outcomes. Combined, her work seeks to understand the conditions under which more inclusionary forms of economic development take shape and draw lessons for scaling institutional action and coordination.

She joined the Department of City and Regional Planning in 2005 after receiving my Ph.D. in Economic Development and Planning from MIT. She has consulted on projects for the International Labour Organization, Inter-American Development Bank, Bank of the Northeast Brazil, Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, the Kenan Institute for Private Enterprise, the Council for Entrepreneurial Development and the North Carolina Department of Commerce and Board of Science and Technology.


Please see for a list of all publications and working papers.

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