Sebastien Breau

Associate Professor
Sebastien Breau
Contact Information

Burnside Hall Room 417

Email address: 
sebastien.breau [at]
Research areas: 
Economic geography
Regional economic development
Spatial Inequalities
International trade
Quantitative methods

I am an Associate Professor of Geography at McGill University. Before joining the Department in 2006, I completed graduate studies in geography at the University of California Los Angeles (PhD, 2006) and economics at the Université Laval (MA, 1999), as well as undergraduate studies in economics at the Université de Moncton (B.Sc.Soc,1995). In between degrees, I also worked as an economist with the Conference Board of Canada and the Canadian Institute for Research on Regional Development (Université de Moncton). I currently serve as co-editor of the Canadian Journal of Regional Sciences , Academic Director of the McGill-Concordia Quebec Inter-university Center for Social Statistics (QICSS) Lab and mentor for the Provost’s Faculty Mentor Network at McGill.

Current research: 

At the core of my research is a drive to understand recent geographies of income inequality. More specifically, my research program is shaped around two key foci: (i) identifying and explaining spatial patterns of inequality across North American regions and (ii) studying the linkages between international trade, foreign investment and regional economic development. My work on these issues has been published in a wide range of journals (see below) and supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Fonds québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC), Statistics Canada and the Canadian Institute for Research on Public Policy and Public Administration.

On-going projects:

  • “The urban and regional dynamics of Canada's shrinking middle class.” Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Insight Grant. Principal Investigator (2018-2023).
  • “Arctic Economy and Social Transitions – The WAGE Circumpolar Partnership.” Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Partnership Grant. Co-Investigator with Gérard Duhaime, Project Lead (2021-2026).
  • “Linking National and Regional Income Inequality: Cross-Country Data Harmonization and Analysis.” Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Open Research Area Grant. Co-Investigator with Neil Lee, Project Lead (2021-2024).
  • “Canadian Journal of Regional Science.” Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Aid to Scholarly Journals, Principal Investigator (2022-2025).
Selected publications: 
  • Breau, S. and A. Lee (2023) The evolution of the Kuznets curve in Canada, Papers in Regional Science.
  • Lee, A., Rodgers, W.M. and S. Breau (2023) Challenging transitions? Assessing the occupational mobility patterns of US immigrants by gender, International Migration.
  • Breau, S., Wylie, M., Manaugh, K. and S. Carr (2023) Inclusive growth, public transit infrastructure investments and neighbourhood trajectories of inequality in Montreal, Environment and Planning A.
  • Riva, M., Makasi, S., Das, R., O’Sullivan, Kaiser, D., Dufresne, P. and S. Breau (2023) Energy poverty: an overlooked risk factor for the health of Canadians, Canadian Journal of Public Health.
  • Breau, S. et K. Manaugh (2023) La ligne rose est un meilleur projet que le REM de l’est, Options Politiques.
  • Breau, S. (2022) “Analyzing the dynamics of inter-regional inequality: The case of Canada” in S. Rey and R. Franklin (Eds.) “The Handbook of Spatial Analysis in the Social Sciences.” Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 416-433.
  • Coomes, O. T., Abizaid, C., Breau, S. and T. R. Moore (2022) The academic job market in U.S. Geography and the business cycle: The long shadow of the 2007–2009 recession. The Professional Geographer, 74(4): 602-619.
  • Breau, S. and J. Dubé (2021) Editorial note. Canadian Journal of Regional Science, 44(1): 3-4.
  • Breau, S., Burkhart, N., Shin, M., Marchand, Y. and J. Sauer (2020) Is it time to start worrying about growing regional inequalities in Canada? The Canadian Geographer, 64(4): 542–550.
  • Marchand, Y., Dubé, J., and S. Breau (2020) Exploring the causes and consequences of regional income inequality in Canada. Economic Geography, 96(2) 83-107.
  • Marchand, Y., Breau, S., and J. Essletzbichler (2019) How does inequality affect growth? Evidence from a panel of Canadian regions. Canadian Journal of Regional Science, 42(2): 130-140.
  • Cavanaugh, A. and S. Breau (2019) Changing fortunes: An analysis of the dynamics of income inequality in US metropolitan areas. Canadian Journal of Regional Science, 42(1): 66-76.

Research lab members:

  • Annie Lee, post-doc fellow (2021- )
  • Morgan Sleeth, PhD student (2021- )
  • Niall Harney, MA student (2018-22)
  • Saman Gais-Rhasem, MA student (2021- )
  • Simon Dufour, BA Urban Studies & Economics student (2022-23)
  • Lara Martin, BA Honours student (2023- )
  • Shai Rotbard-Seelig, BA Urban Systems student (2023- )
Back to top