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Gordon C. McCord

Assistant Professor


(858) 534-0590
Fax: (858) 534-3939

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519

Office: #1321


Ph.D., Columbia University, 2011 (sustainable development)
B.A., Harvard University, 2002 (economics)


Gordon McCord completed his Ph.D. degree in Sustainable Development from Columbia University in May 2011, and works at the intersection of development economics, public health and environment. 

Prior to graduate school, Gordon studied poverty traps, foreign aid, and poverty reduction strategies in his position as special assistant to Jeffrey Sachs at the Earth Institute and at the UN Millennium Project.

Gordon’s research focuses on understanding the changing role of geography in economic development.  His dissertation work used weather to model the effect of malaria on child mortality and fertility behavior.  Other work looks to understand the role of geography in Chinese city growth and the role of agricultural productivity on India’s structural change.  Gordon’s public health research includes financial modeling of primary health care systems in sub-Saharan Africa, and his paper in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene uses GIS and ecology data to estimate the cost of fully deploying anti-malaria interventions across Africa.

Professional Activities

  • Presented "Geographic Determinants of City Location in China" at the UCSB Advanced Spatial Analysis Workshop. Santa Barbara, CA. July 2010.
  • Presented "Improving Empirical Estimation of Demographic Drivers: Fertility, Child Mortality & Malaria Ecology" in the World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists 2010. Montreal, Canada. June 2010.
  • Speech on "Achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Latin America," Universidad Nacional San Cristóbal de Huamanga. Ayacucho, Perú. December 3, 2004.
  • Speech on "The United Nations in the 21st Century," Robbins Memorial Symposium, Phillips Exeter Academy, April 2004. 

Research Interests

Working Papers
  • "Spatial Modeling of Indian Agriculture, Economic Activity and Population under Climate Change"

Millennium Village Simulation

  • Millennium Village Simulation: The MV Sim was created as a teaching tool to help students appreciate the complexity of meeting the Millennium Development Goals in a rural African setting, and to experience the interdisciplinary nature of sustainable development.

Publications of Note

Academic Publications
  • "Ending Africa's Poverty Trap," (with Jeffrey D. Sachs, John W. McArthur, Guido Schmidt-Traub, Margaret Kruk, Chandrika Bahadur, and Michael Faye), Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, 1:2004.


Chapters in Books

  • "Extreme poverty," with Jeffrey D. Sachs, in The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Second Edition, Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume, eds. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. [Download PDF]
  • Foreword (co-authored with Jeffrey D. Sachs) to Antezana, Oscar, La Reducción de la Pobreza: Un Proceso Político, Plural: La Paz, 2005.