Paavo Monkkonen


Assistant Professor of Urban Planning
Faculty Cluster Leader, Global Urbanization and Regional Development

Home Department: Urban Planning

Areas of Interest

Economic Development, Finance, Housing, International and Comparative Planning, International Development, Low-income/Affordable Housing, Quantitative Analysis, Spatial Analysis.




Paavo Monkkonen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban Planning at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, where he teaches courses on housing markets and policy, economics, research methods, and global urban segregation. His research focuses on five areas: housing policy with an emphasis on low-income housing, the role of finance, policy, and economic development in the changing spatial structures of cities, the impacts of land use regulation on housing markets, the regularization of informally developed neighborhoods, and property taxation. Current research projects include an international comparative analysis of household formation, a study of regulations and urbanization in Asia and Latin America funded by the Global Development Network and the Inter-American Development Bank, and a spatial analysis of the housing market of Chengdu, China. He was recently awarded the David C. Lincoln fellowship to study the urban development impacts of land taxation in Mexicali, Baja California. Dr. Monkkonen has a Master of Public Policy from the School of Public Affairs at the University of California, Los Angeles. He completed his PhD in City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. His dissertation research, funded by fellowships from the Fullbright-Hays, North American Regional Science Council and the UC MEXUS research institute, analyzed how the reform of Mexico~Os provident fund housing finance system transformed access to housing, the homebuilding industry, urban growth patterns, and the socio-spatial structure of cities. Entitled The Housing Transition in Mexico: Local Impacts of National Policy, it was the winner of the 2010 Aareal Award for Excellence in Real Estate Research from the Real Estate Management Institute of the European Business School. He was previously an Assistant Professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Design at the University of Hong Kong.

Selected Research

Project #1: Are People More Productive in Compact Cities? Not in Mexico

Existing empirical studies on urban spatial structure and economic productivity, almost exclusively from Europe and the United States, find that people working in denser and more compact cities tend to be more productive. This study finds that in Mexico the opposite is true. Sprawling cities are more productive. We argue that this is due to the fact that land-intensive manufacturing jobs are much more productive in Mexico than the service sector.

Project #2: Baseline Study of Land Markets in and Around Mexico City’s Former and New International Airport

This project, funded by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy with the Secretary of Economic Development of Mexico City, is an effort to gather various sources of data on land and property values in Mexico City in order to assist the city government implement a land value capture program. The program is focused on land near the International Airport because a new airport is being built, and the existing site will be redeveloped.

Selected Publications:

Paavo Monkkonen (2016): Are civil-law notaries rent-seeking monopolists or essential market intermediaries? Endogenous development of a property rights institution in Mexico, The Journal of Peasant Studies, DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2016.1216983

Monkkonen, P. Where do Property Rights Matter More? Explaining the Variation in Demand for Property Titles across Cities in Mexico, World Development (2016),