Core Faculty

Andrew Isserman

Professor of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
Professor of Regional Economics and Public Policy
Professor of Urban and Regional Planning
Institute of Government and Public Affairs
PhD, University of Pennsylvania, 1975


An innovative teacher, Professor Isserman emphasized learning-by-doing and quickly took students to the frontiers of planning practice and thought. He taught master’s courses in urban and regional analysis, economic impact analysis, and federal program analysis, as well as a film and writing course on regional cultures and economies. Their common thread was effective story telling, whether based on quantitative analyses or personal experiences. Long a journal editor, he taught two doctoral courses in regional development that built students’ research and writing skills. Students rated his courses among the University’s best for five consecutive years.

His research on federal policy, often conducted with graduate students, contributed to changes in several federal programs. Awarded funding by the National Science Foundation since he was in high school, he conducted applied research for the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, and Transportation. He was a scholar-in-residence or fellow at the Census Bureau, Appalachian Regional Commission, and Economic Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Professor Isserman was a pioneer in developing methods for analyzing and forecasting economic and demographic change. He is listed as one of the 50 faculty members with the greatest number of citations in urban and regional planning and among the 100 all-time intellectual leaders of regional science. He received awards or fellowships from the American Planning Association, American Statistical Association, National Council for Geographic Education, and Regional Science Association International. In 2005 he was President of the North American Regional Science Council.

Before rejoining the Illinois faculty, he was Research Director of the Public Policy Institute of California, Director of the Regional Research Institute of West Virginia University, and Visiting Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. He served on the editorial boards of the Journal of the American Planning Association and Journal of Planning Education and Research, as well as several regional science journals.

His most recent research had four emphases important to building better places and stronger communities. He sought to understand why some rural places prosper so that others can learn from their success. He was trying to improve federal boundary definitions, such as urban, rural, and region, because they have major funding, planning, and policy consequences. He was refining techniques to assess program effectiveness using geographical control group methods and to identify unstated national urban and rural policies. Finally, he was working on planning strategies to engage the future more proactively and creatively with an understanding of economic and demographic possibilities and the lives and priorities of others in the community.


Selected Publications

Isserman, Feser, and Warren. 2009.  Why some rural places prosper and others do not. International Regional Science Review 32, 3: 300-42.

Low and Isserman. 2009. Ethanol and the local economy: Industry trends, location factors, economic impacts, and risks. Economic Development Quarterly 23,1: 71-88.

Feser and Isserman. 2009. The rural role in national value chains. Regional Studies 43,1: 89–109.

Isserman. 2007. Getting state rural policy right: Definitions, growth, and program eligibility. Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy 37,1: 73-79.

Isserman. 2007. Forecasting to learn how the world can work. In Engaging Our Futures: Forecasts, Scenarios, Plans, and Projects, Lewis D. Hopkins and Marisa Zapata, eds., ch. 9, pp. 175-197. Cambridge, MA: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Isserman and Rephann. 2007. The economic effects of the Appalachian Regional Commission: An empirical assessment of 26 years of regional development planning. In Regional Planning: Classics in Planning, Vol. 4, Plane, Mann, Button, and Nijkamp, eds. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing; reprinted from Journal of the American Planning Association, 1995.

Andrew Isserman. 2007. State economic development policy and practice in the United States. In Regional Planning: Classics in Planning, Vol. 4, Plane, Mann, Button, and Nijkamp, eds. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing; reprinted from International Regional Science Review, 1994.

Isserman and Westervelt. 2006. 1.5 million missing numbers: Overcoming employment suppression in County Business Patterns data. International Regional Science Review 29,3 (July).

Isserman. 2005. In the national interest: Defining rural and urban correctly for research and public policy. International Regional Science Review 28,4: 465-499.

Andrew Isserman image