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William Milton Bowen

Professor of Urban Studies and Public Administration, Cleveland State University

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About William

Bowen's research focuses on  research-based decision-making and problem solving in regional analysis and planning. Overarching themes in his writings include economic development, energy policy, and environmental issues. When he is not engaged in scholarship, he spends his time in various leadership roles in the Boy Scouts of America. He is also the lead guitar player for a local classic rock and blues band.

In the News

"GOP Tax Proposals Would Hurt Cleveland State University and Other Institutions of Higher Education," William Milton Bowen (with Adam Sonstegard),, December 10, 2017.


"State Spending for Higher Education: Does it Improve Economic Performance?" (with Haifeng Qian). Regional Science Policy and Practice 9, no. 1 (2017): 7–23.

Considers whether increases in state-level economic performance caused increases in regional spending for higher education, or vice versa in the United States for the period 1989–2014.  Confirms the hypothesis that in the short term of four years or less the direction of causality goes in the opposite direction from the one conventionally assumed.

"Higher Education, Governance, and Academic Freedom" (with Michael Schwartz), in (Re)Discovering University Autonomy: the Global Market Paradox of Stakeholder and Educational Values in Higher Education, edited by Romeo V. Turcan, John E. Reilly, and Larisa Bugaian (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 27-44.

Asserts the core purpose of universities is knowledge formation. Asses the threats to universities as bastions of knowledge and free thought.

"The End of Academic Freedom: The Coming Obliteration of the Core Purpose of the University" (with Michael Schwartz and Lisa Camp) (Information Age Press, 2014).

Explains why academic freedom is a protection for the core purpose of the university, which is to create, preserve, transmit and find new applications for knowledge. Displays how the set of idea vetting systems described in this book threaten this protection.

"Vehicle Fuel Economy and Vehicle Miles Traveled: An Empirical Investigation of Jevon’s Paradox" (with Vinola Vincent-Munyon and John Holcomb). Energy Research and Social Science 38 (2018): 19-27.

Shows how increased energy efficiency can lead to increased consumption of the stock of fuel. Reveals that an increase in efficiency leads to an equivalent decrease in fuel consumption.

"The Chief Purpose of Universities: Academic Discourse and the Diversity of Ideas" (with Michael Schwartz) (MSL Academic Endeavors, 2010).

Establishes the purpose of universities is to conserve the variation of ideas and defends this role as the primary adaptive mechanism of the human species.