The principal mission of the Center for Regional Analysis (CRA) is to provide research and technical assistance to local government and businesses, primarily located in the Washington DC Metro region. These efforts focus on economic, demographic, transportation, housing and fiscal issues.
To execute this mission, the Center’s staff conducts regular research on the performance of the Washington area economy, issues regular reports on the region’s economy, housing, and demographic conditions, and participates in local meetings and conferences sponsored by governments, non-profit organizations, chambers of commerce and like organizations.
The Center for Regional Analysis is the “go to” organization for economic, demographic and housing data and analysis within the Washington and Baltimore regions and is cited locally and nationally as the source of information for the media, research scholars, and investors interested in understanding the Washington area‘s economy.
The Center posts reports, presentations, data and other information its website (cra.gmu.edu). This readily available research and analysis, and the Center’s location within George Mason University, have made CRA the primary source of public information about the region.
The Center for Regional Analysis was formed in 1993 to undertake research on regional economic development policy focusing primarily on technologically intense regions. While some of its work initially focused on regional development policy in Europe and Asia as well as North America, much of its activity is concentrated on its immediate laboratory, the Washington DC region.
One of the Center’s first major initiatives was a conference on the future of the Northern Virginia Economy, held in May of 1994. The conference chronicled the recent development history of the Northern Virginia region including an analysis of its technology sector, which for the first time recognized that technology is the economic base of the region. The conference also unveiled the Center’s econometric input-output model of the regional economy, which was used to forecast different future economic scenarios. The initial work of the Center focused on examining the role of leadership in regional economic development. A theoretical approach was developed and tested in 1993 served as the theoretical rationale for the development of the Northern Virginia Business Roundtable. The Roundtable is a collection of some 100 CEOs from Northern Virginia businesses charged with developing intermediate and long range strategies for the region’s future. The Center has provided staff support for this initiative in areas such as industry targeting capital formation, higher education, elementary and secondary education, transportation and leadership development.
The Center, on the basis of earlier work on technology in the region for the Northern Virginia Technology Council and the Virginia Center for Innovative Technology, undertook the development of a technology database for the National Capital region under contract to the Greater Washington Board of Trade in the summer of 1994. This project, led by Dr. Roger Stough, was completed in the Spring of 1995 and for the first time provides an objectively defined estimate of the scale of the technology sector in the Washington DC region. The study demonstrated that technology accounts for a major proportion of the region’s economy and is focused on advanced technology services such as systems integration, information technology, telecommunication and biotechnology.
Dr. Stephen Fuller joined the Center in August of 1994 from George Washington University. Dr. Fuller is well known for his long standing analysis and knowledge of the National Capital region. In particular, he has developed a near term forecasting system for the Washington DC region using leading and coincident indices. He has also expanded the Center’s research on regional economic, housing and transportation issues.
Dr. Terry Clower is the current CRA Director after joining the Center and the GMU Faculty in August 2014. Prior to joining GMU, he was director for the Center for Economic Development and Research at the University of North Texas. Dr. Clower also spent 10 years employed in private industry in logistics and transportation management positions.