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Paul Romer

also known as Paul Michael Romer

developer , economist

The primary developer of New Growth Theory, which provides a fresh foundation for how businesses and governments think about wealth creation. The president and founder of Charter Cities, a research non-profit focused on the interplay of rules, urbanization, and development. Romer is an entrepreneur who has successfully applied technology to higher education, he founded Aplia, Inc.


Ethnicity: Paul Romer is the son of former Colorado governor Roy Romer.

Dr. Romer’s current research focuses on the concept of charter cities. To create better options for people in the developing world, Romer advocates building charter cities — special reform zones that allow governments to quickly adopt innovative systems of rules that can differ markedly from those in the surrounding area. Charter cities give government leaders more options for improving governance, give investors more opportunities to finance socially beneficial infrastructure projects, and give people more opportunities to improve the quality of their lives.


Romer earned a B.S. in physics in 1977 and a Ph.D. in economics in 1983, both from the University of Chicago.


  • Contributor to numerous scholarly and popular publications, including American Economic Review, European Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, The Economist, Forbesand The Fortune Encyclopedia of Economics


  • article

    • ‘Cake eating, chattering and jumps: existence results for variational problems’, Em, 54, July 1986

    • ‘Increasing returns and long-run growth’, JPE, 94, Oct. 1986

    • ‘Ski-lift pricing, with applications to labor and other markets’ (with R. Barro), AER, 77, December 1987

    • ‘Determinacy of equilibria in dynamic models with finitely many consumers’ (with T.J. Kehoe, D.K. Levine), JET, 50, February 1990;

    • ‘Endogenous technological change’, JPE, 98, Oct. 1990;

    • ‘Economic integration and endogenous growth’ (with L. Rivera-Batiz), QJE, 106, May 1991

    • ‘Looting: the economic underworld of bankruptcy for profit’ (with G. Akerlof), in water closet Brainard, G.L. Perry (eds), BPEA, 2, 1993

    • ‘New goods, old 714 ROSE theory, and the welfare costs of trade restrictions’, J Dev Stud, 43, 1994

    • ‘Preferences, promises, and the politics of entitlement’, in V.R. Fuchs (educated), Individual and Social Responsibility: Child Care, Education, Medical Care, and Long-term Care in America (UCP, 1995)

    • ‘Wages, skills and technology in the United States and Canada’ (with K. Murphy, C. Riddell), in E. Helpman (educated), General Purpose Technologies and Economic Growth (Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 1998)


  • Fellow Econometric Society; Econs. Association

  • National Bureau Economic Research

  • American Academy Arts & Sciences


  • Other Interests

    Paul Romer's most important work is in the field of economic growth. He is a pioneer of endogenous growth theory. Romer's articles published in 1986 and 1990 amounted to constructing mathematical representations of economies in which technological change is the result of the intentional actions of people, such as research and development.

    Romer is credited with the quote, "A crisis is a terrible thing to waste." which he said during a November 2004 venture-capitalist meeting in California. Although he was referring to the rapidly rising education levels in other countries versus the United States, the quote became a sounding horn by economists and consultants looking for a positive take away from the economic downturn of 2007-2009.

    His latest contribution has been in trying to replicate the success of charter cities and make it an engine of economic growth. Romer has argued that with better rules and institutions, undeveloped nations can be set on a different and better trajectory for growth.