Christopher Esposito

Christopher Esposito

Graduate Student



Economic GeographyEvolutionary EconomicsInnovation


Master of Arts, Geography

UCLA, 2016

Thesis: An Evolutionary Theory of Regional Economic Growth and Change

Bachelor of Arts, Economics and Geography

Colgate University, 2014

magna cum laude

Thesis: The Role of Natural Amenities in Gentrification


I research cities and their economies from both applied and theoretical standpoints. On the applied end, I am studying Los Angeles' minimum wage increase (which is rising to $15/hr by July 2020) to learn if minimum wage laws are helpful in combating income inequality. On the theoretical front, I am interested in the geography of knowledge production. In this research, I analyze U.S. patent data to study how spatial proximity and separation between inventors shapes the direction of technological change.

Selected Publications

Peer-reviewed publications


  • Esposito, C., Rigby, D. 2019. Buzz and Pipelines: The Costs and Benefits of Local and Non-Local Interaction. Journal of Economic Geography 19 (3). 753-773. [PDF]   [Abstract].

Awarded the 2019 UCLA Geography Graduate Student Publication Award.




Working Papers



  • Esposito, C., Worker Takes All: Los Angeles’ Minimum Wage Increase, its Benefactors, and its Beneficiaries. In Preparation. With Edward Leamer (UCLA Anderson) and Jerry Nickelsburg (UCLA Anderson).

Grants & Awards

International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) Summer FellowshipFunded by the U.S. National Academy of SciencesJune 2018 – September 2018 National Science Foundation Graduate Research FellowMay 2015 – 2020. UCLA Graduate Research FellowJune 2015 – June 2016. Shannon McCune Award for Excellence in GeographyColgate University, 2014. High Honors Economics, High Honors GeographyColgate University, 2014

Courses & Presentations

Project: Studying Minimum Wage Increases in Los Angeles County

  • “Designing an Effective Minimum Wage: Geographical Insights from Los Angeles County”. Annual Meeting of the Assoication of American Geographers (AAG). Washington, DC. April 3, 2019

Project: Problems in Innovation and its Urbanization

  • “Creativity Constrained? The Diminishing Returns in Recombinationatory Invention”.  Global Conference in Economic Geography. Cologne, Germany. July 25, 2018.

Project: Premature Deagglomeration

  • Premature Deagglomeration: The Buden of Expensive Housing on the Innovation Economy“.  Annual Meeting of the Assoication of American Geographers (AAG). New Orleans. April 11, 2018.
  • “Housing and Innovation: Housing Supply Constraints and the Premature Deagglomeration of Patenting Activity”. 4th Geography of Innovation Conference. Barcelona. Jan 31, 2018.
  • Premature Deagglomeration“. Center for International Development, Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Cambridge, MA. July 18, 2017.
  • Congestion in the Knowledge Economy“. 20th Annual Uddevalla Symposium: Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Industrial Dynamics in Internationalized Regional Economies. Trollhattan, Sweden. June 17, 2017.
  • Congestion in the Knowledge Economy“. Annual Meeting of the Regional Studies Association (RSA), Dublin, Ireland. June 6, 2017.
  • The Diversification Curve“. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG), Boston. April 4, 2017.
  • “Workshops of the Future”. Colgate University. Hamilton, NY. April 2, 2017.

Project: When Buzz and Pipelines Fail

  • “When Buzz and Pipelines Fail”. Invited Speaker, Utrecht University Economic Geography Seminar (EconGeo). Utrecht, Netherlands. September 10, 2016.
  • “The Geographic Foundations of Innovation”. Young Economic Geographers Network Workshop (YEGN). Bern, Switzerland. August 18, 2016.
  • “An Evolutionary Model of Regional Economic Growth and Change”. First Annual Workshop in Regional Economic Development and Innovation (REDI). UCLA. May 26, 2016.
  • “Simulating the Creative Destruction of Regional Economies”. Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG). San Francisco. April 24th, 2016.
  • “The Profitability of Technologies: How Regions Respond to Scarce and Valuable Knowledge”. 3rd Geography of Innovation Conference. Toulouse, France. January 29th, 2016.


Ph.D. Committee

David L. Rigby, Professor of Geography and Stastics (Committee Chair)

Michael Storper, Professor of Urban Planning

Jacob Foster, Assistant Professor of Sociology

Allen J. Scott, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Geography

MA Committee

David L. Rigby, Professor of Geography and Stastics (Committee Chair)

Michael Storper, Professor of Urban Planning

Lynne Zucker, Professor of Sociology