The Research Agenda lays out the five research topics most vital for the charter cities movement. Charter cities – new cities with new rules – are an effective tool to spur economic growth. However, as with most novel ideas, there are many unanswered questions. We break down charter cities into more accessible research questions to help design evidence-based policy recommendations and guide where we will focus our research efforts.
Rigorously answering these questions will be difficult. There are no mature charter cities in the world, so we currently lack the data needed to assess the impacts they can bring and the issues they will likely face. Charter cities also touch on numerous and seemingly disparate fields, such as economics, urban planning, anthropology, and history. To maintain consistency, the charter cities agenda needs a cohesive conceptual framework to guide its research. This document lays out a plan to help us answer relevant questions in a cohesive way. We identify five themes that can best inform the charter cities agenda. For each theme, we provide a summary of the existing research and describe its link to the charter cities concept.
We also hope to use this agenda to engage with the broader research community. We are committed to generating rigorous research and we are eager to work with other scholars interested in working on charter cities. It explains where our research priorities are to help guide collaborations.