Filipe Campante is a rising star in the field of political economy, development economics, and urban/regional issues. He examines the informal constraints—cultural norms, institutions, media, and political protest—that limit politicians and policy makers beyond formal checks and balances, which hold leaders accountable to the people they represent.
In particular, Campante’s research has focused on how these informal constraints are affected by the spatial distribution of people and economic activity, by access to information, by the evolution of cultural norms, and by the structure of the economy. He tries to answer these aggregate questions—what happens to countries or states or cities—with an applied microeconomic approach. Campante and collaborators are currently investigating “air links”—a study of air travel that shows how increasing interconnectedness spurs economic activity at the local level by facilitating business connections, but also increases spatial inequality locally, and potentially globally. Going forward, he will apply the same concepts to study how technologies that connect people across distance, such as air travel or social media, affect people’s cultural attitudes and political behavior.
Campante joined Johns Hopkins University as a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in 2018 from Harvard University.