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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 how the regional composition of economies and industries shapes 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 the relationships among agglomeration, industrial structure, entrepreneurial competition, economic development policy, economic resilience, and other facets of economic performance.

A second line of research encompasses anchor institutions, which are large, typically public or nonprofit organizations that bind economic activity to a region. Drucker analyzes how anchors’ different external (regional economy) and internal (organizational) orientations influence their economic positions, and evaluates public policies to leverage anchors as local resources. His research in this area includes evaluating the emerging policy of urban innovation districts, the economic impacts of higher education institutions and military installations, and how spillovers occur among institutions and across space.

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. With the Nathalie P. Voorhees Center, Drucker has been participating in a multi-year project to assist Illinois defense communities in applying economic data to efforts to capture military procurement spending and to increase resiliency in the face of changing military missions and other economic shocks. He is a co-author of Planning Support Methods (2018, Rowman and Littlefield).

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


Books (1)

Articles (11)

Working Papers (8)

Reports (16)