PhD defence by Joakim Wernberg on The Inherent Complexity of Agglomeration: Essays on the self-organization of urban economies

Joakim Wernberg, PhD candidate at CIRCLE and the Department of Human geography, Lund University, will defend his thesis with the title The Inherent Complexity of Agglomeration: Essays on the self-organization of urban economies


OpponentAssociate Professor José Lobo, Arizona State University, USA

Date/Time: Monday 30th of October 2017, 13.00

Place: Department of Human Geography, Geocentrum I, Room “Flygeln”. Sölvegatan 10, Lund, Sweden.

Abstract: This doctoral thesis combines complexity science and economic geography in order to explore bottom-up, self-organizing principles within urban economies, in particular in relation to the flow of information and knowledge between people.Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 20.29.08.png

The thesis consists of a kappa that covers the general theoretical framework and four papers. The papers cover urban scaling and intra-urban scaling analysis, local interactions and informational spillovers , collective information processing, productivity benefits related to city size, diversity and specialization externalities, social capital and urban interactions


Welcome to Joakim’s PhD defence!


CIRCLE Seminar with Assoc. Prof. Sotaro Shibayama on sustainable production of science and scientists

Sotaro Shibayama will give a seminar with title Sustainable production of science and scientists: academic training in life science labs”.


Sotaro Shibayama is associate professor at the Department of Business Administration and research associate at the Sten K. Johnson Centre for Entrepreneurship. He is an expert in the field of Economics of Science and in particular on the careers of academic researchers.

Date: 3rd of October: 14.00-15.00
Place: Sölvegatan, 16, MNO-huset, CIRCLE, M213

Practical: The seminar is held in CIRCLE Seminar Room, it is open for everyone and there is no need to register. In case you don’t have the access card for our building, please let us know (or simply ring us on the entrance doorbell). 

/Claudio Fassio ( and Polina Knutsson (



Dr. Zheng, Dr. Lavesson and Dr. Fredin Congratulations!

In this summer post we are pleased to summarise the first half of this year by congratulating our three new doctors Yannu Zheng, Niclas Lavesson and Sabrina Fredin for successfully defending their PhD dissertations.

This is a great accomplishment which requires an incredible amount of hard work, all leading up to that very special moment! Your perseverance and dedication over the years have taken you there. This was a proud moment and we wish you all the best in the next exciting chapter in your life.

Yannu: How immigrants invent: evidence from Sweden



For thesis details contact Dr. Zheng at: or

Niclas: “Rural-urban interdependencies: The role of cities in rural growth



For thesis details contact Dr. Lavesson at: or

Sabrina: History and geography matter: The cultural dimension of entrepreneurship


For thesis details contact Dr. Fredin at:


Enjoy your summer!


Final PhD seminar with Joakim Wernberg on Beyond City Size – Essays on the internal order, complexity and diversity of growing cities

Joakim Wernberg, PhD candidate at CIRCLE and the Department of Human geography, Lund University, will present his PhD project with a title Beyond City Size – Essays on the Joakim-round-300x296.jpginternal order, complexity and diversity of growing cities. The final seminar is the last opportunity for the PhD candidate to present his work and receive feedback before the actual PhD defence.

Date/Time: Wednesday 28 June 2017, 13.15 – 15.00

Place: Malmö, Geocentrum I, Department of Human Geography, Sölvegatan 10, Lund

Opponent: Martin Henning, Gothenburg University

Abstract: There is a wide body of empirical evidence that shows increasing returns to scale with city size, including more productive workers and firms, increased division of labor and more innovation. At face value, these results are attributed to the city as a whole and cities are treated as club goods. Yet, this does not resonate with the current theoretical framework underpinning agglomeration economies, nor with the growing body of empirical evidence of highly localized externalities, especially those consistent with learning or knowledge spillovers. While much theoretical effort is directed toward identifying micro-level mechanisms within urban economies, the literature is less concerned with system properties on a macro-level. In this paper, I develop a model that links empirical regularities within and between cities to complex adaptive system properties. In doing so, I provide a conceptual explanation of how individual interactions can self-organize into collective information processors.

For more information and a full manuscript please contact

Welcome to Joakim’s Final PhD seminar!

Happy Midsummer!

Are you excited about the Midsummer celebration tomorrow? Empty city centres, highest strawberry prices of the year and probably rain ;). We wish you all the best from the lovely and green country side!


photo: swedish taste


PS: This video by is a classic at this point:

Glad Midsommar!

PhD defence by Niclas Lavesson on Rural-urban interdependencies: The role of cities in rural growth

Niclas Lavesson, PhD candidate at CIRCLE and the Department of HumaLavessonn geography, Lund University, will defend his thesis with the title Rural-urban interdependencies: The role of cities in rural growth

Date/Time: 8th of June 2017, 10:15 am
Place: Världen, Geocentrum I, Sölvegatan 10, Lund

Opponent: Olof Stjernström, Umeå universitet

Supervisors: Martin Andersson and Thomas Niedomysl

Abstract: A massive population growth in cities is currently being witnessed in most countries around the world. As urban populations grow, cities eventually expand geographically into what was considered countryside and nowadays distinguishing between what is city and what is countryside is getting increasingly difficult. In many Western countries, it is being observed that areas near cities seem to capitalize from urban proximity by experiencing strong growth in population and employment.Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 13.43.34.pngBy contrast, remotely located areas appear to be in fast decline, observed not least in the ongoing trend of rural depopulation. In the European context, and more specifically in Sweden, research is relatively scarce on these issues. The aim of this thesis is to examine rural–urban interdependencies and the role of cities in rural growth.

Over the last decades, having spatial linkages with cities appears to have increased in importance for rural areas. Much can be learned from studying how interdependencies with nearby cities influence rural growth. Increased knowledge on the topic may be useful, not least in formulating policies aiming at, for example, increasing rural employment and counteracting rural depopulation.

The findings in the thesis strongly suggest that interdependencies with nearby urban centers are not necessarily positive. In fact, it is shown that proximity to urban centers of any size is detrimental to local employment growth and entrepreneurship in rural Sweden. Rewards from urban proximity are only visible from interdependencies with the largest urban centers. This suggests that there is a threshold of urban (population) size that needs to be reached for positive agglomeration spillovers to outweigh adverse effects following from urban proximity, for example from urban competition for local jobs, consumers and rural resources in general. Importantly, though, there is a significant heterogeneity in relationships across space. Implicitly, this means that a change that would be positive in one place may be very negative in another.

A strong positive association is also observed between rural-to-urban commuting and rural employment growth. Therefore, it is concluded that increasing rural-to-urban commuting could be a way to achieve growth in the countryside. Also, stimulating urban employment growth could be a way for rural areas to maintain and perhaps even grow their local population. This follows from the observation that rural residents increasingly are engaging in rural-to-urban commuting and that the common pathway into this type of commuting is from rural residents changing to urban places of work. These are also individuals who are younger and better educated than their rural neighbours and contribute more than average rural workers to the local economy, by enhancing tax incomes or strengthening local purchasing power.

Welcome to Niclas’s PhD defence!

CIRCLE Seminar with Prof. Marco Vivarelli on impact of Corporate R&D and Innovation on Employment

Prof. Marco Vivarelli will give a seminar based on two of his articles with title “A fotoweb-custom-size-162-170.jpgreappraisal of the impact of Corporate R&D and Innovation on Employment”.

Marco Vivarelli is Full Professor of Economics at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milano, where he is also Director of the Institute of Economic Policy. His current research interests include the relationship between innovation, employment and skills; the labour market and income distribution impacts of globalization; the entry and post-entry performance of newborn firms.

Date: 7th of June: 14.00-15.00

Place: Sölvegatan, 16, MNO-huset, CIRCLE, M213

Abstract (of one of the article to be discussed) : In this work, we test the employment impact of distinct types of innovative investments using a representative sample of Spanish manufacturing firms over the period 2002-2013. Our GMM-SYS estimates generate various results, which are partially in contrast with the extant literature. Indeed, estimations carried out on the entire sample do not provide statistically significant evidence of the expected labor-friendly nature of innovation. More in detail, neither R&D nor investment in innovative machineries and equipment (the so-called embodied technological change, ETC) turn out to have any significant employment effect. However, the job-creation impact of R&D expenditures becomes highly significant when the focus is limited to the high-tech firms. On the other hand – and interestingly – ETC exhibits its labor-saving nature when SMEs are singled out.

Practical: The seminar is held in CIRCLE Seminar Room, it is open for everyone and there is no need to register. In case you don’t have the access card for our building, please let us know (or simply ring us on the entrance doorbell). 

/Claudio Fassio ( and Polina Knutsson (