Center for Regional Economy Established

Saint Mary's has established an interdisciplinary research center to study the economy of the East Bay, the only region in the Bay Area to boast more than a million jobs.

The new Center for the Regional Economy will act as a clearinghouse and resource for information about the East Bay economy, with special emphasis on Contra Costa County. Saint Mary's faculty and student interns will research and consult on economic, political, environmental and social issues in conjunction with regional business, governmental and nonprofit groups.

"The East Bay is growing so quickly that it has become an integrated, diversified, major economic region," said Roy Allen, dean of the School of Economics and Business Administration, who announced the center's creation at SMC's annual State of the Economy Conference on May 3.

Already, the center has reported on the impact of a water shortage on the region's economic health and of the use of the "precautionary principle" in environmental regulation.

Professor Kristine Chase, the center's director and Transamerica Professor of Business Policy and Strategy, said she has received positive community feedback. The Contra Costa Council and Contra Costa Economic Partnership are supporters of the center.

Future studies by the center will investigate:

  • The heath-care needs of Contra Costa County children, and the impact of children's health on the region's vitality.
  • The reasons for declining high school graduation rates.
  • The impact of fees and regulations on housing affordability.

The center will also help to organize regional meetings, including the College's State of the Economy Conference.