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About Joshua Drucker

Joshua Drucker joined the Department of Urban Planning and Policy of the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2008. 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, Drucker's 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 is part of a team working to understand and leverage The impacts of defense department activity, including procurement, throughout Illinois, and previously participated in a multi-year project that assisted defense communities across the United States to use economic data to design policies 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.


Present Department of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago

Curriculum Vitae

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  • Planning for Innovation
  • Urban Policy Analysis
  • Planning Skills
  • Economic Analysis Techniques
  • Economic Development Theory and Policy


2002 - 2008 PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
1998 - 2000 MRP, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
1993 - 1998 BS, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
1997 - 1997 The University of New South Wales

Contact Information

Department of Urban Planning and Policy (MC348)
412 South Peoria Street, 221 CUPPAH
Chicago, Illinois 60607-7068
(312) 413-7597
fax (312) 413-2314


Articles (11)

Reports (20)