David Rigby

David Rigby headshot

David Rigby

Ladder Faculty

Office: 1255 BUNCHE


Phone: 3108257334


(Ph.D., McMaster, 1988) is a Professor with research interests in evolutionary economic geography, geographies of innovation and knowledge flow, technological change and regional economic growth. Dr. Rigby teaches classes on geographies of technological change and economic growth and on globalization.


B.A. Geography, University of Salford, 1981

M.A. Geography, McMaster University, 1983 Thesis: The Long Wave of Accumulation in Canada 1950-1980

Ph.D. Geography, McMaster University, 1988 Thesis: Technical Change in Canadian Manufacturing: A Regional Analysis


I am currently engaged in research in three different areas:

1. Geographies of Invention and Knowledge Flow- development of the knowledge space of different cities/regions and their evolution over time- measurement of the complexity of patents and thus the complexity of the knowledge produced in different  technology hubs across the U.S. and Europe- identification of the characteristics of knowledge flows, particularly the flows of simple and complex forms of  knowledge- mapping the structure of inventor collaborations in specialized and diverse cities- linking patent and firm-level data
2. Analysis of Impacts of Trade on U.S. Labor Markets- this work uses confidential microdata from the Research Data Centers of the US Bureau of the Census that allows  construction of linked employer-employee data and the connection of transaction-level trade flows with firms- papers explore how rising levels of import competition are linked to job-loss, plant and firm exit and wage inequality
3. Analysis of the Micro-Economics of Agglomeration- using plant/firm level data to explore the different mechanisms that underpin agglomeration after Marshall (labor market pooling, localized input-output networks, knowledge spillovers)- how do these different mechanisms vary across different kinds of plants/firms?- at what spatial scales do these mechanisms operate?

Selected Publications

  • Poon, J. and D.L. Rigby. 2017. International Trade: The Basics. Routledge.
  • Petralia, S., Balland, P.-A. and D.L. Rigby. 2016. Unveiling the Historical Geography of Patents in the United States from 1836 to 1975. Scientific Data(PDF)
  • Kogler, D., Essletzbichler, J. and D.L. Rigby. 2016. The Evolution of Specialization in the EU15 Knowledge Space. Journal of Economic Geography(PDF)
  • Balland, P.-A. and D.L. Rigby. 2016. The Geography of Complex Knowledge. Economic Geography(PDF)
  • Rigby, D.L., Kemeny, T. and A. Cooke. 2016. Plant Exit and U.S. Imports from Low-Wage Countries. International Economics(PDF)
  • Hei, C., Yan, Y. and D.L. Rigby. 2016. Regional Industrial Evolution in China. Papers in Regional Science(PDF)
  • Hei, C., Qi, G. and D.L. Rigby. 2016. What Sustains larger Firms? Evidence from Chinese Manufacturing Industries. The Annals of Regional Science(PDF)
  • Balland, P.-A., Rigby, D.L. and R. Boschma. 2015. The Technological Resilience of U.S. Cities. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society. (PDF)
  • Feldman, M., Kogler, D. and D.L. Rigby. 2015. rKnowledge: The Spatial Diffusion of rDNA Methods. Regional Studies(PDF)
  • Rigby, D.L. 2015. Technological Relatedness and Knowledge Space: Entry and Exit of U.S. Cities from Patent Classes. Regional Studies(PDF)
  • Rigby, D. L. and W.M Brown. 2015. Who Benefits From Agglomeration? Regional Studies(PDF)
  • Kemeny, T., Rigby, D.L. and A. Cooke. 2014. Cheap Imports and the Loss of U.S. Manufacturing Jobs. The World Economy. (PDF)
  • Rigby, D.L., Kemeny, T. and A. Cooke 2014. U.S. Wage Inequality and Low-Wage Import Competition. Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie. (PDF)
  • Kogler, D., Rigby D.L. and I. Tucker. 2013. Mapping Knowledge Space and Technological Relatedness in U.S. Cities. European Planning Studies(PDF)
  • Kemeny, T. and D.L. Rigby. 2012. Trading Away What Kind of Jobs? Globalization, Trade and Tasks in the U.S. Economy. Review of World Economics(PDF)
  • Baldwin, J.R., Brown, W.M. and D.L. Rigby. 2010. Agglomeration Economies: Micro-Data Panel Estimates from Canadian Manufacturing. Journal of Regional Science(PDF)
  • Essletzbichler, J. and D.L. Rigby. 2010. Generalized Darwinism and Evolutionary Economic Geography. In The Handbook of Evolutionary Economic Geography, Boschma, R. and R. Martin (eds.) Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
  • Brown, W.M. and D.L. Rigby. 2010. Agglomeration Economies: Where Do They Come From and To Who Do They Flow? In Dynamic Geographies, Baathelt, H, Feldman, M., Gertler, M. and D. Kogler (eds.). Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.
  • Burt, J., Barber, G. and D.L. Rigby. 2009. Elementary Statistics for Geographers (3rd ed.) New York: Guilford Press.
  • Webber, M.J. and D.L. Rigby. 1996. The Golden Age Illusion. New York: Guilford Press.