Elsie Harper-Anderson

Elsie Harper-Anderson

Assistant Professor

Scherer Hall, Room 513 Phone: (804) 828-7390 Email:


  • Economic development
  • Workforce development
  • Entrepreneurship


B.S., Political Science, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania
M.S., Public Management and Policy, H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management, Carnegie Mellon University
Ph.D., City and Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley


Quantitative methods, program evaluation, economic development, social policy analysis and economic geography

Research interests

Workforce development, local and regional economic development, entrepreneurship and social inequality


Dr. Elsie Harper-Anderson’s research examines the impact of macroeconomic transformation on regional economies and urban labor markets. Her most recent work focuses on understanding the connection between workforce development and economic development in local areas with an emphasis on social equity and sustainability concerns. The author of numerous articles, book chapters and policy reports, Harper-Anderson’s work has been published in the Economic Development Quarterly and the Journal of Planning Education and Research.

Harper-Anderson brings a wealth of academic and direct experience to the Wilder School. Prior to joining the academy, she worked as a social scientist at Social Policy Research Associated in Calif. Her work has included significant experience implementing and evaluating economic development and housing programs for local, state and federal agencies such as the Department of Labor, the Economic Development Administration and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Harper-Anderson has served on the faculty at the University of Michigan, the University of California Berkeley, Ball State University and as a visiting scholar at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. She is the founder and CEO of Regional Economic Policy Research LLC, a research and consulting firm.

Selected publications

Harper-Anderson, Elsie L. (2012) “Exploring What Greening the Economy Means for African-American Workers, Entrepreneurs and Communities,” Economic Development Quarterly,  DOI 10.1177/0891242411431957

Lewis, David, Harper-Anderson, Elsie & Molnar, Lawrence. (2011, October)  “Incubating Success: Incubation Best Practices that Lead to Successful New Ventures”  Policy Report prepared for the U.S. Economic Development Administration

Harper-Anderson, Elsie, L. (2009) “Coming Together in Tough Economic Times: Workforce Development and Economic Development Move Closer in Michigan,” in Sustaining Michigan: Metropolitan Policies and Strategies, Richard Jelier, and Gary Sands, editors. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press. 

Harper-Anderson, Elsie.  (2009, March)  “African Americans Navigating Chicago’s Professional Services Sector:  Facing Challenges, Seizing Opportunities,” Policy Report prepared for the Chicago Urban League.

Harper-Anderson, Elsie L. (2008) “Measuring the Connection Between Workforce Development and Economic Development: Examining the Role of Sector-Based Strategies for Local Outcomes,” Economic Development Quarterly 22(2). 

Harper-Anderson, Elsie L. (2008) “Benchmarks and Barriers: Rewards for African Americans in the New Economy Sector of Corporate America,” Journal of Planning Education and Research 27(4). 

David, Nina, Harper-Anderson, Elsie & Gerber, Elizabeth. (2008) “Why Cooperate and For What Results? An Analysis of Local Cooperative Efforts to Manage Regional Growth in Michigan” Urban Policy Research Briefs, Michigan  State University Center for Community and Economic Development,  Number 3, 2008.

Vidyarthi, Sanjeev, & Harper-Anderson, Elsie. “India Shining (Albeit In Bits and Pieces): Spatial Perception and Political Choices in Globalized Indian Cities,” Working Paper URRC 07-10.  Urban and Regional Research Collaborative Working Paper Series, University of Michigan, 2007.