Academic profile



I am a regional economist, working on topics relating to labour markets, education and skills, migration, productivity, and political geography. I am currently Professor of Economic Geography at the Department of Land Economy, and Fellow of Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. Prior to coming to Cambridge I worked for the Poverty Team at the World Bank office in Jakarta, Indonesia, on policy initiatives to promote child nutrition and educational transitions. I was also a policy research fellow at the Cambridge-MIT Institute, working on several projects to promote knowledge diffusion and innovation. I have worked as a consultant for the European Commission, the World Bank, the UK’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS/BEIS), the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), and the Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) of Northern Ireland.


I have been Chair of the Regional Science Association International – British and Irish Section since 2018, and am also Co-Editor of the journals Spatial Economic Analysis and Regional Science Policy and Practice, as well as Advisory Editor of the journal Research Policy.





I currently lecture on the undergraduate courses “Land, Development, and Sustainability” (Paper 4), “Land and Urban Economics” (Paper 11), and “Land and Development Economics” (Paper 17), and coordinate the course Paper 4 and Paper 17.







Key publications: 

Journal articles

Valenzuela-Levi, N. and Abreu, M. (2021). The income equality dividend in ‘green’ infrastructure: Evidence from the transport and waste sectors in the OECD. Journal of Cleaner Production, 315, 128088.

Abreu, M. and Jones, C. (2021). The shadow of the Pithead: Understanding social and political attitudes in former coal mining communities in the UK. Applied Geography 131, 102448.

Abreu, M., & Öner, Ö. (2020). Disentangling the Brexit vote: The role of economic, social and cultural contexts in explaining the UK’s EU referendum vote. Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space

Abreu, M., Oner, O., Brouwer, A., and Van Leeuwen, E. (2019). Well-being effects of self-employment: a spatial inquiry. Journal of Business Venturing, 34(4), pp. 589-607.

Abreu, M., and Grinevich, V. (2017). Gender patterns in academic entrepreneurship. Journal of Technology Transfer 42(4), 763–794.

Abreu, M., Demirel, P., Grinevich, V., Karataş-Özkan, M. (2016). Entrepreneurial practices in research-intensive and teaching-led universities. Small Business Economics 47, 695–717.

Abreu, M., Faggian, A. and McCann, P. (2015). Migration and inter-industry mobility of UK graduates. Journal of Economic Geography 15(2), 353-385.

Smit, M., Abreu, M. and de Groot, H. (2015). Micro-evidence on the determinants of innovation in The Netherlands: the relative importance of absorptive capacity and agglomeration externalities. Papers in Regional Science 94(2), 249-272.

Abreu, M. and Grinevich, V. (2014). Academic entrepreneurship in the creative arts. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 32(3), 451-470.

Abreu, M. and Grinevich, V. (2013). The nature of academic entrepreneurship in the UK: widening the focus on entrepreneurial activities. Research Policy 42(2), 408-422.

Abreu, M., Faggian, A, Comunian, R, McCann, P (2012). “Life is short, art is long”: the persistent wage gap between Bohemian and non-Bohemian graduates. Annals of Regional Science 49(2), 305-321.

Policy reports

Abreu, M. (2018) Skills and productivity. Productivity Insights Network (PIN) Evidence Review. Available from:  

Abreu, M. (2012). Good practices in the selection and use of outcome indicators. European Commission, Brussels.

Abreu, M., Grinevich, V., Kitson, M. and Savona, M. (2011). The changing face of innovation policy: implications for the Northern Ireland economy. DETI, Belfast.

Abreu, M. (2008). Effectively dealing with slums. Background Paper for the World Development Report 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography. World Bank, Washington DC.

Abreu, M., Grinevich, V., Kitson, M. and Savona, M. (2008). Taking services seriously: How policy can stimulate the ‘hidden innovation’ in the UK’s services economy. NESTA, London.

Abreu, M., Grinevich, V., Kitson, M. and Savona, M. (2008). Absorptive capacity and regional patterns of innovation. Background paper for the Innovation Nation White Paper. DIUS, London.

Abreu, M. (2006). Changing patterns of child malnutrition in Indonesia. Background Paper for Making the New Indonesia Work for the Poor. World Bank, Jakarta.

Book chapters

Abreu, M. (2013). Neoclassical growth models. In Fischer, M. and Nijkamp, P. (Eds.), Handbook of Regional Science. Amsterdam: Springer.

Abreu, M. and Grinevich, V. (2013). Academic interactions with private, public and not-for-profit organisations: the known unknowns. In Ferreira, J. Raposo, M., Rutten, R. and Varga, A. (Eds.), Advances in Spatial Science: Cooperation, Clusters and Knowledge Transfer. Amsterdam: Springer, 181-206.

Abreu, M. and Grinevich, V. (2013). Academic entrepreneurship and the geography of university flows in the UK. In Crescenzi, R. and Percoco, M. (Eds.), Advances in Spatial Science: Geography, Institutions and Regional Economic Performance. Amsterdam: Springer, 187-206.

Abreu, M. (2011). Absorptive capacity in a regional context, in P. Cooke, B. T. Asheim, R. Boschma, R. Martin, D. Schwartz, F. Tödtling (Eds.), Handbook of Regional Innovation and Growth. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 211-221.

Abreu, M. and Savona, M. (2009). New regional policies for less developed areas: The  case of India, in Nijkamp, P. and Capello, R. (Eds.), Handbook of Regional Growth and Development Theories. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 479-494.





Current PhD students

Yan Weigang


Recent PhD students



Nicolas Valenzuela

Adam Tyrcha

Juan Fernando Bucheli






Urban and regional economics, education and labour markets, political geography, economic geography, development economics and policy