Search Google Appliance


Vatter Memorial Lecture

The Vatter Memorial Lecture was established in 2006 to honor PSU Professor of Economics Harold Goodhue Vatter. Vatter was a pioneer of New Economic History. By integrating economic theory with history, Vatter achieved a level of thinking on par with the greats. He taught at several universities, including the University of Chicago and Oregon State University, before coming to Portland State University in 1965. He passed away September 8, 2000 at the age of 89.

Harold Vatter Lecture 2016

Edward Glaeser, Harvard University

"Big Data and Big Cities"

Thursday, May 12, 5:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.

 Lincoln Hall Room 75

New, “big” data sources allow measurement of city characteristics and outcome variables with higher frequencies and finer geographic scales than ever before. The lecture will describe a number of new urban data sources that can be used to improve the study and function of cities. Widely available on-line images can be used to measure trends and changes in city neighborhoods, improve property tax assessments, and measure income in developing world cities.  However, big data will not solve large urban social science questions on its own. We will discuss the use of tournaments to develop algorithms that use crowd-sourced data to improve hygiene inspections.  Finally, we will cover problems of zoning and transportation that are related to big data.

Edward Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University.  He has published dozens of papers on cities economic growth, law, and economics. In particular, his work has focused on the determinants of city growth and the role of cities as centers of idea transmission.  Many of his research findings about the forces that influence city growth are summarized and integrated into his book, Triumph of the City, published in 2011 by Penguin Press.

 "Big Data and Big Cities" Power Point Presentation


  • 2013 Nancy Folbre, "Localism in the Age of Globalism" 
  • [Video]  [Audio]
  • 2012 Gavin Wright, "The Civil Rights Revolution in the South: Who Won, Who Lost?"
    [Video]
  • 2010  Peter Lindert, "Who Paid for Your Education? Who Should?"
    [Video]
  • 2009  Jagdish Bhagwati, "Trade Policy at Risk: How President Obama Should Confront Protectionism."
    [Video & Photos]
  • 2008  Douglass C. North, "The Natural State or Why Economic Development is so Difficult to Achieve."
  • 2007  L. Randall Wray, "Demand Constraints, Secular Stagnation, and Big Government: The Contributions of Harold G. Vatter."