Christopher R. Berry, the William J. and Alicia Townsend Friedman Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy and in the College, has been appointed faculty director of the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, effective immediately.
Berry founded and currently serves as director of the University of Chicago’s Center for Municipal Finance. Under his leadership, CMF has emerged as one of the leading academic centers of research and education on state and local government finance.
The center conducted the first nationwide study of property tax assessment regressivity, analyzing millions of tax records from communities accounting for 96% of the U.S. population and illustrating how biases in assessment disproportionately burden owners of less valuable homes and communities of color. CMF also provides a valuable and timely resource to journalists, researchers, bond issuers and investors through its innovative data dashboard.
“The Mansueto Institute convenes researchers from across disciplines to address a wide range of complex issues facing modern cities,” Provost Katherine Baicker said. “Chris brings a wealth of expertise to this role, and his strong leadership and vision will guide the institute in developing innovative strategies to improve the lives of city residents here in Chicago, across the country and around the world.”
Municipal finance graduate program
Berry launched a graduate certificate program in municipal finance and an executive education credential program for working professionals in partnership with the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. He also helped create the Master of Science in Computational Analysis and Public Policy degree, a joint program of the Harris School and the Department of Computer Science. MSCAPP is one of the first and largest programs of its kind in the nation.
“As someone who studies and loves cities, I am thrilled to take the helm of the Mansueto Institute, which is one of the jewels of the University,” Berry said. “I look forward to engaging a confederation of scholars from a wide range of disciplines to support bold thinking about the future of cities. The Mansueto Institute will also increase its work in the city and, especially, in nearby neighborhoods, building a portfolio of innovative programs that can inform cities everywhere.”
Research on property tax equity
In addition to his research on property tax equity, Berry also focuses on American politics, metropolitan governance, municipal finance, and intergovernmental fiscal relations. He is the author of “Imperfect Union: Representation and Taxation in Multilevel Governments,” the winner of the Best Book Award in Urban Politics from the American Political Science Association. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Berry succeeds Luís Bettencourt, Professor of Ecology and Evolution and Associate Faculty in Sociology, who served as the inaugural director of the Mansueto Institute, establishing it as a central hub for urban science and practice and forming dynamic partnerships with many organizations focused on addressing a wide array of crucial issues for cities around the world.