Densely Speaking (podcast)

Densely Speaking: Conversations About Cities, Economics & Law is an interview-based scholarship podcast hosted by me and Jeffrey Lin, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. You can find us on your local podcast app (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, etc.) and follow along on Twitter at @denselyspeaking.

The meat of the show is interviews with guests about their recent work. We also have a short segment at the end called “Appendices,” where hosts and guests briefly flag other work they find interesting. Links to episodes appear below. Our producer is Schuyler Pals.

The views expressed on the show are those of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the Federal Reserve System, or any of the other institutions with which the hosts or guests are affiliated.

Episode 1: Welcome to Densely Speaking: Conversations About Cities, Economics & Law

Episode 2: Leah Brooks, “Infrastructure Costs”

Episode 2 show notes:

Professor Leah Brooks, economist and Associate Professor of Public Policy and Public Affairs at the George Washington University’s Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Affairs, joins the show to discuss Infrastructure Costs, her working paper (joint with Prof. Zachary Liscow, Yale Law School).

Jenny Schuetz, a fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, joins as a guest co-host.


Leah Brooks: Riots Long Ago, Luxury Living Today (Emily Badger, NYT)

Jenny SchuetzI’ve Seen a Future Without Cars, and It’s Amazing (Farhad Manjoo & visualization collaborators, NYT)

Jeff LinVestiges of Transit: Urban Persistence at a Microscale (Leah Brooks & Byron Lutz, Review of Economics and Statistics)

Greg ShillDiscourses of Climate Delay (William Lamb et al, Global Sustainability) (thanks to Giulio Mattioli for sharing on Twitter)

Episode 3: Conrad Ciccotello, “Gender and Geography in the Boardroom: What Really Matters for Board Decisions?”

Episode 3 show notes:

Professor Conrad Ciccotello, director of and professor at the Reiman School of Finance in the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver, joins the show to discuss his working paper, Gender and Geography in the Boardroom: What Really Matters for Board Decisions? (joint with Profs. Zinat Alam, Mark Chen, and Harley Ryan).

Note: the interview and Appendices comprise the first 50 minutes. For this episode, we also have a bonus Appendix—-the final 10 minutes is a conversation between Conrad and Greg about the switch to virtual work by boards of directors and how it interacts with Conrad’s experience on boards of directors and his research on geography and corporate governance.


Conrad Ciccotello: Gender, Geography and the Boardroom (in The Corporate Board, Sept.-Oct. 2017), by Profs. Zinat Alam, Mark Chen, Conrad Ciccotello, and Harley Ryan

Greg ShillHow Close Is Close? The Spatial Reach of Agglomeration Economies, by Profs. Stuart Rosenthal & William Strange, Journal of Economic Perspectives Summer 2020

Jeff LinThe Internal Geography of Firms, by Profs. Dominick Bartelme & Oren Ziv, working paper

Episode 4: Allison Shertzer, “Racial Segregation in the Housing Market and the Erosion of Black Wealth”

Episode 4 show notes:

Professor Allison Shertzer, Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Pittsburgh, joins the show to discuss her working paper, Racial Segregation in Housing Markets and the Erosion of Black Wealth (joint with Profs. Prottoy A. Akbar, Sijie Li, and Randall P. Walsh).

Professor Devin Michelle Bunten, the Edward H. and Joyce Linde Assistant Professor of Urban Economics and Housing at MIT, joins the show as guest co-host.


Allison Shertzer: covid-related shutdowns of camps and schools prompted new uses of attics and reflections on differential impacts of the pandemic, including on parents

Greg ShillBattle of Lincoln Park: Urban Renewal and Gentrification in Chicago by Daniel Kay Hertz and Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing In America by Conor Dougherty

Jeff LinA Sense of Where You Are by Devin Bunten

Devin Michelle Bunten: Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson and a podcast interview on the subject with Chris Hayes

Episode 5: Ganesh Sitaraman, Morgan Ricks & Chris Serkin: Regulation & The Geography of Inequality

Professors Ganesh SitaramanMorgan Ricks, and Chris Serkin are Professors of Law at Vanderbilt Law School.

Professor Michelle Layser, an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois College of Law, joins as guest co-host for this discussion.


Ganesh Sitaraman: Jump Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream by Jonathan Gruber and Simon Johnson.

Chris Serkin: Neighborhood Defenders: Participatory Politics and America’s Housing Crisis by Katherine Levine Einstein, David Glick, and Maxwell Palmer.

Michelle Layser: How Place-Based Tax Incentives Can Reduce Geographic Inequality by Michelle Layser.

Greg ShillWhy Cities Lose: The Deep Roots of the Urban-Rural Divide by Jonathan Rodden.

Jeff LinLocal Ties in Spatial Equilibrium by Mike Zabek.