Meric Gertler, Professor


Administrative Position:
President, University of Toronto

Home Campus:
U of T St. George

Harvard University (1983)

Other Degrees:
MCP University of California, Berkeley (1979)
BA (Hons) McMaster University (1977)

Contact Information:

Phone:    (416) 978-2121
Location: Suite 206, 27 King’s College circle

Research Interests:

  • Cities as sites of innovation and creativity
  • Role of universities and research organizations in urban economies
  • Regional and national systems of innovation
  • Institutions, technological and industrial change in geographical context

Selected Publications:

Refereed Articles

  • Spencer, G., Vinodrai, T., Gertler, M.S. and Wolfe, D.A. 2010. “Do clusters make a difference? Defining and assessing their economic performance”, Regional Studies, 44:6, 697-715.
  • Gertler, M.S. 2010. “Rules of the game: the place of institutions in regional economic change”, Regional Studies, 44:1, 2010, 1-15.
  • Gertler, M.S. and Vinodrai, T. 2009. “Life sciences and regional innovation: one path or many?”, European Planning Studies, 17:2, 2009, 235-261.
  • Lowe, N.J. and Gertler, M.S. 2008. “Building on diversity: institutional foundations of hybrid strategies in Toronto’s life sciences complex”, Regional Studies, 42:9, 1-15.
  • Gertler, M. and Levitte, Y. 2005. “Local nodes in global networks: the geography of knowledge flows in biotechnology innovation”,  Industry and Innovation, 12:4, 487-507.  [note: this article is the second most frequently cited article published in Industry and Innovation]
  • Gertler M. with Bathelt, H. 2005. “The German variety of capitalism: forces and dynamics of evolutionary change,” Economic Geography, 81, 1-9.
  • Gertler M. and Vinodrai, T. 2005. “Learning from America? Knowledge flows and industrial practices of German firms in North America”, Economic Geography, 81, 31-52.
  • Gertler M. with Wolfe, D.A. 2004.“Clusters from the inside and out: insights from the Canadian study of cluster development”, Urban Studies, 41:5/6, 1071-93.
  • Gertler M. and Wolfe, D.A. 2004. “Local social knowledge management: community actors, institutions and multilevel governance in regional foresight exercises”, Futures, 36:1, 45-65.
  • Gertler M. 2003. “Tacit knowledge and the economic geography of context, or the undefinable tacitness of being (there)”, Journal of Economic Geography, 3:1, 75-99. [Note: this paper has been recognized as the most cited single-author paper to appear in JEG and the 2nd most highly cited paper overall]
  • Gertler M. with T.D. Rutherford. 2002. “Labour in ‘lean’ times: geography, scale and the national trajectories of workplace change”, Transactions, Institute of British Geographers, NS, 27:2, 2002, 195-212.
  • Gertler M. 2002. “Classics  in human geography revisited:  Scott, A.J. 1988 Metropolis: from the division of labor to urban form – Commentary 2″, Progress in Human Geography, 26:1, 67-70.
  • Gertler M. with D.A. Wolfe. 2001. “Globalization and economic restructuring in Ontario: from industrial heartland to learning region?”, European Planning Studies, 9:5, 575-592.
  • Gertler M. 2001. “Urban economy and society in Canada: flows of people, capital and ideas”, Isuma: The Canadian Journal of Policy Research, 2:3, 119-130.
  • Gertler  M. 2001.  “Central Canada and the global economy: politics and possibilities,” The Canadian Geographer, 45:1, 31-35.
  • Gertler M. 2001. Growing smarter? Learning from Growing prosperity: the battle for growth with equity in the 21st century,” Antipode, 33:1, 84-89.
  • Gertler M. 2001. “Best practice? Geography, learning and the institutional limits to strong convergence,” Journal of Economic Geography, 1:1, 5-26. [Note: this paper has been recognized as the 2nd most highly cited single-author paper to appear in JEG and the 5th most highly cited paper overall]
  • Gertler M. with Trevor Barnes, John Britton, William Coffey, David Edgington and Glen Norcliffe. 2001.  “Canadian economic geography at the millennium,” The Canadian Geographer, 44:1, 4-24.
  • Gertler M. and D.Wolfe, D. Garkut. 2000. “No place like home?  The embeddedness of innovation in a regional economy”, Review of International Political Economy, 7:4, 688-718.
  • Gertler M. 1999. “Negotiated path or ‘business as usual’? Ontario’s transition to a continental production regime,” Space & Polity 3:2, 171-197.
  • Gertler M. 1997. “The Convergence of Industrial Cultures?  Canada and Germany in the Global Economy”, Zeitschrift für Kanada-Studien, 17:2, pp. 45-57.
  • Gertler M. and S. DiGiovanna. 1997. “In Search of the New Social Economy: Collaborative Relations Between Producers and Users of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies”, Environment and Planning A, vol. 29, pp. 1585-1602.
  • Gertler M. 1996. “Worlds Apart: The Changing Market Geography of the German Machinery Industry”, Small Business Economics, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 87-106.
  • Gertler M. 1995. “Debating Flexibility: Past, Present, and Future”, Scottish Geographical Magazine: Journal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, vol. 111, no. 1, 1995, pp. 63-64.
  • Gertler M. 1995. “`Being There’: Proximity, Organization, and Culture in the Development and Adoption of Advanced Manufacturing Technologies”, Economic Geography, vol. 71, no. 1, pp. 1-26. [reprinted in J. Bryson, N. Henry, D. Keeble, and R. Martin (eds.) The Economic Geography Reader: Producing and Consuming Global Capitalism. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 1999, pp. 201-208].
  • Gertler M. 1993. “Implementing Advanced Manufacturing Technologies in Mature Industrial Regions: Towards a Social Model of Technology Production” Regional Studies, vol. 27, no. 7, pp. 665-680.
  • Gertler M. 1993. “Harold Innis and the New Industrial Geography”, The Canadian Geographer, vol. 37, no.4, pp. 360-64.
  • Gertler M. 1992. “Flexibility Revisited: Districts, Nation-States, and the Forces of Production”, Transactions, Institute of British Geographers, (New Series), vol. 17, no. 3, 259-278.
  • Gertler M. and E. Schoenberger. 1992. “Industrial Restructuring and Continental Trade Blocs: The European Community and North America”, Environment and Planning A, vol. 24, no. 1, 2-10.
  • Gertler M. 1990. “The State of Analytical Political Economy in Geography”, Environment and Planning A, vol. 22, no. 8, pp. 1035-1038.
  • Gertler M. 1989.  “Resurrecting Flexibility?  A Reply to Schoenberger”, Transactions, Institute of British Geographers (New Series), vol. 14, no.1, pp. 109-112.
  • Gertler M. 1988. “The Limits to Flexibility:  Comments on the Post-Fordist Vision of Production and its Geography”, Transactions, Institute of British Geographers, (New Series), vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 419-432.  [Note: This article has been recognized as the single most frequently cited article ever published in the Transactions]
  • Gertler M. with G.L. Clark and J.E.M. Whiteman. 1988. “Regional Dynamics:  A Reply to Our Critics”, Urban Geography, vol. 9, no. 3, pp. 327-334.
  • Gertler M. 1988. “Some Problems of Time in Economic Geography”, Environment and Planning A, vol. 20, pp. 151-164.
  • Gertler M. 1987.”Economic and Political Determinants of Regional Investment and Technical Change in Canada”, Papers of the Regional Science Association, vol. 62, pp. 27-43.
  • Gertler M. 1987. “Capital, Technology, and Industry Dynamics in Regional Development”, Urban Geography, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 251-263. [reprinted in K.E. Haynes, K.J. Button, and P. Nijkamp (eds.) Regional Dynamics: Modern Classics in Regional Science. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 1997].
  • Gertler M. 1986. “Regional Dynamics of Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing Investment in Canada”, Regional Studies, vol. 20, no. 6, pp. 523-534.
  • Gertler M. 1986. “Discontinuities in Regional Development”, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, vol. 4, pp. 71-84.
  • Gertler M. 1885. “Industrialism, Deindustrialism, and Regional Development in Central Canada”, Canadian Journal of Regional Science, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 353-375.
  • Gertler M. with G.L. Clark. 1985.  “An Adjustment Model of Regional Production”, Environment and Planning A, vol. 17, pp. 231-251.
  • Gertler M. 1984. “The Dynamics of Regional Capital Accumulation”, Economic Geography, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 150-174.
  • Gertler M. 1984.”Regional Capital Theory”, Progress in Human Geography, vol. 8, no. 1, 50-81.
  • Gertler M. with G.L. Clark. 1983.  “Local Labor Markets:  Theories and Policies in the United States During the 1970s”, Professional Geographer, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 274-285.
  • Gertler M. with G.L. Clark. 1983.  “Migration and Capital”, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, vol. 73, no. 1, pp. 18-34.
  • S.M. Taylor and F.L. Hall and Gertler M. 1978. “Regulatory Implications of Individual Reactions to Road Traffic Noise”, Transportation Research Record, vol. 686, pp. 27-33.

Book Chapters

  • Gertler, M.S., Geddie, K., Hatch, C., and Rekers, C. 2012. “Attracting and retaining talent: the evidence from Canada’s city-regions”, in J. Grant (ed) Creative Talent: The Case of Canadian Cities, University of Toronto Press.
  • Gertler, M.S. 2009. Entries for “Product life cycle”, “Production complex”, “Profit cycle”, “Transaction costs”, “Transactional analysis”, “Economies of scope”, “Just-in-time production”, and “Taylorism” in D. Gregory, R. Johnston, G. Pratt, M.J. Watts and S. Whatmore (eds) The Dictionary of Human Geography, 5th Edition. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
  • Gertler, M.S. 2008. “Buzz without being there: communities of practice in context”, in A. Amin and J. Roberts (eds) Community, Economic Creativity and Organization.
  • Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 203-226.
  • Gertler, M.S. 2008. “At the crossroads”, in D. Macfarlane (ed) Toronto: A City Becoming. Toronto: Key Porter Books, pp. 47-60.
  • Vinodrai, T., Gertler, M.S., and Lambert, R.  2007.“Capturing design: lessons from the United Kingdom and Canada”, in A. Arundel, A. Colecchia, and F. Gault (eds) Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators in a Changing World: Responding to Policy Needs. Paris: Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), pp. 65-85.
  • Gertler, M.S. 2007. “Tacit knowledge in production systems: how important is geography?” in K.R. Polenske (ed) The Economic Geography of Innovation. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, pp. 87-111.
  • Wolfe, D.A. and Gertler, M.S. 2006. “Local antecedents and trigger events: policy implications of path dependency for cluster formation” in P. Braunerhjelm and M.P. Feldman (eds) Cluster Genesis: The Emergence of Technology Clusters, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 243-263.
  • Gertler, M.S and Wolfe, D.A. 2006. “Spaces of knowledge flows: clusters in a global context,” in B. Asheim, P. Cooke and R. Martin (eds) Clusters in Regional Development. London: Routledge, pp. 218-235.
  • Gertler, M.S and Wolfe, D.A. 2006. “Innovation and creativity in city-regions: what do we know, and where do we go next?” in L. Earl and F. Gault (eds) National Innovation, Indicators and Policy. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, pp. 133-153.
  • Gertler, M.S with Lowe, N.J. 2005. “Diversity and the evolution of a life science innovation system: the Toronto region in comparative perspective,” in D.A. Wolfe and M. Lucas (eds) Local Linkages and Global Networks: The Paradox of Cluster Development in an Open Economy. Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, pp. 25-55.
  • Gertler, M.S and Vinodrai, T. 2005. “Anchors of creativity: how do public universities create competitive and cohesive communities?” in F. Iacobucci and C. Tuohy (eds) Taking Public Universities Seriously. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp. 293-315.
  • Gertler, M.S. with Asheim, B.T. 2005. “The geography of innovation: regional innovation systems”, in J. Fagerberg, D. Mowery, and R. Nelson (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Innovation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 291-317.
  • Gertler, M.S. 2005. “Tacit knowledge, path dependency and local trajectories of growth”, in Fuchs, G. and Shapira, P. (eds) Rethinking Regional Innovation and Change: Path Dependency or Regional Breakthrough? Amsterdam: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 23-41.
  • Gertler, M.S. and Wolfe, D.A. 2004. “Ontario’s regional innovation system: the evolution of knowledge- based institutional assets”, in Braczyk, H-J., Cooke, P. and Heidenreich, M. (eds) Regional Innovation Systems: The Role of Governance in a Globalized World. London: Routledge, pp. 91-124.
  • Gertler, M.S. with Wolfe, D.A. 2003. “Clusters old and new: lessons from the ISRN study of cluster development”, in D.A. Wolfe (ed) Clusters Old and New: The Transition to a Knowledge Economy in Canada’s Regions. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003, pp. 1-35.
  • Gertler, M.S. 2003. “Best practice? Geography, learning and the institutional limits to strong convergence”, in T. Barnes, J. Peck, E. Sheppard and A. Tickell (eds) Reading Economic Geography. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 350-61.
  • Gertler, M.S. 2003. “The spatial life of things: the real world of practice within the global firm”, in J. Peck and H. Yeung (eds) Remaking the Global Economy. London: Sage, pp. 101-13.
  • Gertler, M.S. 2003. “A cultural economic geography of production”, in K. Anderson, M. Domosh, S. Pile and N. Thrift (eds) The Handbook of Cultural Geography. London: Sage, pp. 131-46.
  • Gertler, M.S. with David Wolfe.  2002. “Globalización y reestructuración económica en Ontario: ¿de núcleo industrial a Learning Region?” in M. Olazaran and M.G. Uranga (eds) Sistemas Regionales de Innovación. Zarautz: Servicio Editorial, Universidad del País Vasco, pp. 157-84.
  • Gertler, M.S. 2002.“Technology, culture and social learning: regional and national institutions of governance,” in M.S. Gertler and D.A. Wolfe (eds) Innovation and Social Learning: Institutional Adaptation in an Era of Technological Change.  Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan/Palgrave, pp. 111-134.
  • Gertler, M.S. with David Wolf. 2002. “Innovation and social learning: an introduction,” in M.S. Gertler and D.A. Wolfe (eds) Innovation and Social Learning: Institutional Adaptation in an Era of Technological Change.  Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan/Palgrave, pp 1-24.
  • Gertler, M.S. 2000. New entries for the following terms: “Commodity chain/filière”, “Information asymmetries”, “Product life cycle”, “Profit life cycle”, “Social capital”, “Sunk costs”, “Transaction costs”.  Revised/Updated entries for the following terms:  “Economies of scope”, “Flexible accumulation”, “Fordism”, “Just-in-time production”, “Location theory”, “Post-Fordism”, “Production complex”, “Regime of accumulation”, “Taylorism”, “Transactional analysis” in R.J. Johnston, D. Gregory, G. Pratt, D.M. Smith and M. Watts (eds.) The Dictionary of Human Geography (Fourth Edition). Oxford:  Basil Blackwell.
  • Gertler, M.S. 1999. “The production of industrial processes: regions, nation states and the foundations of regulation”, in T.J. Barnes and M.S. Gertler (eds.) The New Industrial Geography: Regions, Regulation and Institutions. London: Routledge, pp. 225-237.
  • Gertler, M.S. with S. Brail. 1999.  “The Digital Regional Economy: Emergence and Evolution of Toronto’s Multimedia Cluster”, in H-J Braczyk, G. Fuchs and H-G Wolf (eds.) Multimedia and Regional Economic Restructuring. London: Routledge, 97-130.
  • Gertler, M.S. 1999. “Globalisation, Regional Economic Transition and Learning: Restructuring, Renewal and The Role of Culture”, in Economic and Cultural Transition Towards a Learning City: The Case of Jena. Paris: OECD, pp. 33-56.
  • Gertler, M.S. and D.A. Wolfe. 1998. “The Dynamics of Regional Innovation in Ontario”, in J. de la Mothe and G. Paquet (eds.) Local and Regional Systems of Innovation. Amsterdam: Kluwer Academic Publishers, pp. 211-238.
  • Gertler, M.S. 1998. “Cultural Barriers to International Technology Transfer: The Limits to Regional Systems of Innovation”, in H. Logue (ed.) Global Comparison of Regional RTD and Innovation Strategies for Development and Cohesion. Brussels: European Commission, pp. 5-29.
    Gertler, M.S. with D.A. Wolfe. 1998. “The Regional Innovation System in Ontario”, in H. Braczyk, P. Cooke, and M. Heidenreich (eds.) Regional Innovation Systems. London: University College London Press, pp. 99-135.
    Gertler, M.S. 1997. “The Invention of Regional Culture”, in R. Lee and J. Wills (eds.) Geographies of Economies: States of the Art in Economic Geography.  London: Edward Arnold, pp. 53-64.
    Gertler, M.S. 1997. “Between the Global and the Local: The Spatial Limits to Productive Capital”, in K. Cox (ed.) Spaces of Globalization.  New York: Guilford Press, pp. 45-63.
  • Gertler, M.S. 1997. “Globality and Locality: The Future of ‘Geography’ and the Nation-State”, in P. Rimmer (ed.) Pacific Rim Development: Integration and Globalisation in the Asia- Pacific Economy.  Sydney: Allen and Unwin, pp. 12-33.
  • Gertler, M.S. 1996. “Regional-Industrial Networks and the Role of Labour” (with Tod Rutherford), in U. Staber, N. Schaefer and B. Sharma (eds.) Business Networks: Prospects for Regional Development.  Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, pp. 41-64.
  • Gertler, M.S. 1996. “Capital, Technological Change, and Regional Growth”, in J.N.H. Britton (ed.) Canada and the Global Economy: The Geography of Structural and Technological Change.  Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, pp. 273-293.
  • Gertler, M.S. 1995. “Groping Towards Reflexivity: Responding to Industrial Change in Ontario”, in P. Cooke (ed.) The Rise of the Rustbelt.  London: University College London Press, pp. 103-124.
  • Gertler, M.S. 1994. Entries for the following terms:  “Economies of scope”, “Flexible accumulation”, “Fordism”, “Just-in-time production”, “Location theory” (revision/update of original entry written by Derek Gregory), “Post-Fordism”, “Production complex”, “Regime of accumulation”, “Taylorism”, “Transactional analysis” in R.J. Johnston, D. Gregory, and D.M. Smith (eds.) The Dictionary of Human Geography (Third Edition). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
  • Gertler, M.S. 1993. “Implementing the ‘New Technologies’: Problems in ‘Peripheral’ Manufacturing” in Rural America and the Changing Structure of Manufacturing: Spatial Implications of New Technology and Organization.  (Washington, DC: Economic Research Service, US Department of Agriculture), pp. 34-54.
  • Gertler, M.S with D. Drache. 1991. “The world economy and the nation-state: the new international order”, in D. Drache and M.S. Gertler (eds.) The New Era of Global Competition, pp. 3-25.
  • Gertler, M.S. 1991. “Canada in a high-tech world: options for industrial policy”, in D. Drache and M.S. Gertler (eds.) The New Era of Global Competition: State Policy and Market Power. Montreal:  McGill-Queen’s University Press, pp. 367-395.
  • Gertler, M.S. 1990. “The Socio-Spatial Dimension of Innovation:  Contributions from Geography”, in L. Salter and D. Wolfe (eds.), Managing Technology:  Social Science Perspectives. Toronto:  Garamond Press, pp. 129-136.
    Gertler, M.S. 1990. “Economic Development”, in R.A. Loreto and T. Price (eds.), Urban Policy Issues: Canadian Perspectives.  Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, pp. 35-57.
  • Gertler, M.S. 1989. “The Service Economy:  Prospects for Urban Growth and Employment”, in M. Lyons (ed), Manufacturing Matters: Conference Proceedings and Research Papers, pp. 68-80. Toronto:  Industrial Development Institute of Metropolitan Toronto.
  • Gertler, M.S. with J.N.H. Britton. 1986. “Locational Perspectives on Policies for Innovation”, in J. Dermer (ed.), Competitiveness Through Technology:  What Business Needs from Government, pp. 159-175.  Lexington, Mass.:  Lexington Books.


  • Gertler, M.S. 2004. Manufacturing Culture: The Institutional Geography of Industrial Practice.  Oxford: Oxford University Press, 220 pp.
  • Gertler, M.S. and David A. Wolfe, eds. 2002.  Innovation and Social Learning: Institutional Adaptation in an Era of Technological Change.  Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan/Palgrave, 260 pp.
  • Gertler, M.S. with G.L. Clark and M.P. Feldman eds. 2000.  The Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 742 pp. Winner, ‘Outstanding Academic Book’, Choice Magazine Awards, 2002. First paperback edition, 2003. Published in Chinese translation 2006.
  • Gertler, M.S. with Trevor J. Barnes eds. 1999. The New Industrial Geography: Regions, Regulation and Institutions.  London: Routledge, 325 pp.
  • Gertler, M.S. with D. Drache eds. 1991. The New Era of Global Competition: State Policy and Market Power.  Montreal:  McGill-Queen’s University Press, 450 pp.
  • Gertler, M.S. with G.L. Clark and J.E.M. Whiteman. 1986.  Regional Dynamics: Studies in Adjustment Theory.  London and Boston: Allen and Unwin.