Sébastien Breau

Sebastien Breau

Economic geography

Associate Professor in the Department of Geography

Office: Burnside Hall 417
Tel.: (514) 398-3242
Fax.: (514) 398-7437
sebastien.breau [at] mcgill.ca (E-mail)


Academic and professional background

  • PhD Geography, UCLA (2006)

  • Research Associate, Canadian Institute for Research on Regional Development (1999-2001)

  • Economist, Conference Board of Canada (1997-1999)


Research interests

At the core of my research is a drive to understand recent geographies of inequality and, in particular, how these geographies may be linked to globalization. I extend our knowledge of these concerns through theoretical and empirical research that focuses on the dynamics of firms in manufacturing industries, North American labour markets and international trade relationships.

More specifically, my research program is shaped around two key foci: (i) studying and interpreting the linkages between international trade, foreign investment and regional economic development and (ii) identifying and analyzing spatial patterns of inequality, as well as understanding what causes underlie these patterns.


Current projects

  • “The urban and regional dynamics of Canada's shrinking middle class: Evidence, explanations and implications.” Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Insight Grant, Principal Investigator (2018-2022).

  • “Regional disparities in Canada: Is it time to revisit the notion of a place-sensitive development policy framework?” Donald J. Savoie Institute, Senior Research Fellowship (2018-2021).

  • “Trajectories of inequality in Montreal: What neighbourhoods stand to benefit most from the proposed ‘Pink’ metro line?” McGill Sustainability Systems Initiatives: New Opportunities Fund, CO-Principal Investigator (2018-2019).


Some recent publications

Breau, S., Toy, B., Brown, M., Macdonald, R. and O. T. Coomes (Forthcoming). In the footsteps of Mackintosh and Innis: Tracking Canada’s centre of economic gravity since the Great Depression. Canadian Public Policy.

Breau, S., Shin, M. and N. Burkhart (2018) Pulling apart: new perspectives on the spatial dimensions of neighbourhood income disparities in Canadian cities. Journal of Geographical Systems. 20: 1-25.

Cavanaugh, A. and S. Breau (2018) Locating geographies of inequality: publication trends across OECD countries, 1980-2014. Regional Studies. 52: 1225-1236.

Breau, S. and R. Saillant (2016) Regional income disparities in Canada: Exploring the geographical dimensions of an old debate. Regional Studies, Regional Science. 3: 464-482.

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