Research interests: urban and transportation economics

Sofia Franco, economics assistant teaching professor, earned her Ph.D. in environmental science and management with a specialization in urban and environmental economics at UC Santa Barbara. She’s an applied microeconomist who’s worked as a consultant to the World Bank and National Center for Smart Growth Research and Education in Maryland on urban development and zoning policies. She comes to UC Irvine following a professorial post at the Nova School of Business and Economics in Portugal.

Franco studies how cities develop over time – how people make decisions about where they want to work and live or which travel mode they take for work or shopping, and what type of policies – zoning, housing, subsidies – affect those decisions. Broadly, her work focuses on theoretical and empirical assessments of major public policy issues informed by environmental, urban and transportation economics, and uses state-of-the-art econometric and computable general equilibrium methods, as well as geographical information tools.

She's published scholarly articles dealing with the efficiency and distributional impacts of anti-sprawl policies, urban sprawl and land use change in the United States. Additional work has focused on the impacts of parking policies on urban sprawl, land consumption, travel mode choices and real estate prices. A further branch of her research has examined the impacts of urban growth controls on forest management practices. Her research has appeared in peer-reviewed academic journals and has also been presented in several major international conferences.



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