|Institution||Université du Québec à Montréal|
|Field||Regional science, economics|
|Alma mater||Université de Montréal, University of Pennsylvania|
After teaching for two years (1964–1966) at the Collège Saint-André of Kigali, Rwanda, as a Canadian Peace Corps (CUSO/SUCO) volunteer, Tellier studied both economics and city planning. He obtained a bachelor's degree in Economics (1968) and a master's degree in City planning (1971) from the University of Montreal, as well as a master's degree (1971) and a Ph.D. (1973) in Regional science from the "Ivy League" University of Pennsylvania. Later, he taught urban economics at the "Institut d’urbanisme" of the University of Montreal before founding, in 1976, the Department of Urban Studies and Tourism of the University of Quebec at Montreal. He was chairman of that department for 13 years as well as, from 1981 to 1983, the director of the "Urbanisation" research center of the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS). He was granted the title of "Professor Emeritus" of the University of Quebec at Montréal in 2012.
In 1971, he found the first direct (non iterative) numerical solution of the Fermat and Weber triangle problems. Identified long before Von Thünen’s contributions, which go back to 1818, the Fermat triangle problem can be seen as the very beginning of space economy. It was formulated by the famous French mathematician Pierre de Fermat before 1640. More than 330 years later, it still had no direct numerical solution. As for the Weber triangle problem, which is a generalization of the Fermat triangle problem, it was first formulated by Thomas Simpson in 1750, and popularized by Alfred Weber in 1909. In 1971, that problem still had no direct numerical solution. The Fermat triangle problem consists in locating a point D with respect to three points A, B, and C in such a way that the sum of the distances between D and each of the three other points is minimized. The Weber triangle problem consists in locating a point D with respect to three points A, B, and C in such a way that the sum of the transportation costs between D and each of the three other points is minimized.
In 1985, in a book entitled Économie spatiale: rationalité économique de l'espace habité, Tellier formulated an all-new problem called the "attraction-repulsion problem", which constitutes a generalization of both the Fermat and Weber problems. In the same book, he solved that problem for the first time in the triangle case, and he reinterpreted the space economy theory, especially, the theory of land rent, in the light of the concepts of attractive and repulsive forces stemming from the attraction-repulsion problem. That problem was later further analyzed by mathematicians like Chen, Hansen, Jaumard and Tuy (1992), and Jalal and Krarup (2003). Moreover, the attraction-repulsion problem is seen by Ottaviano and Thisse (2005) as a prelude to the New Economic Geography that developed in the 1990s, and earned Paul Krugman a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2008. In its simplest version, the attraction-repulsion problem consists in locating a point D with respect to three points A1, A2 and R in such a way that the attractive forces exerted by points A1 and A2, and the repulsive force exerted by point R cancel each other out.
In 1989, Tellier resorted to the attraction-repulsion problem to elaborate a new type of demo-economic model, the topodynamic model, which is not econometric, and which was developed before the emergence of the New Economic Geography. The topodynamic model was conceived with respect to a continuous space, and it allows generating long-run demo-economic projections in regions where other demo-economic models cannot generate believable projections due to the lack of reliable data.
In 1995, Tellier wrote a paper with Claude Vertefeuille introducing the concept of topodynamic inertia, and laying a mathematical basis for that concept. That paper launched a debate that led to refining the concept, and greatly consolidating its mathematical basis. This was done in cooperation with Martin Pinsonnault. In 1997, Tellier published another paper that introduced the concept of topodynamic corridors, and the idea of a new section of economic sciences intended to complete microeconomics, meso-economics and macroeconomics. That new section, called "anoeconomics", would study the space-economic phenomena that are observed at a larger scale than the one of the States (which is the scale of macroeconomics) in a very long-run perspective. "Anoeconomics" comes from ano in Ancient Greek, which means "going back through time, and going up through space" (as in the word "anode").
In 2005 (in French) and 2009 (in English), Tellier published a book that reinterpreted the urban world history in the light of the topodynamic theory he had previously developed.
In 2017-2018, he elaborated and implemented an Urban Metric System based on the notions of attractive force, repulsive force, and vector field analysis. That method allows to mathematically delimit the boundaries of urban areas (central cities, agglomerations, metropolitan areas, megacities, megalopolises, etc.) on the unique basis of the spatial distribution of dwellers and workers.
In his first book, whose title was "Le Québec, État nordique", Tellier proposed a rapprochement between Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and, eventually, an independent Quebec. That was 19 years before the Ottawa Declaration of 1996, and the creation of the Arctic Council, which gathers together those countries, plus Russia and the United States.
Parallel to his works in spatial economics, Tellier published in 1987 a book about the Le Tellier clan, which was one of the two main clans that struggled for obtaining the favors of the king of France at Versailles during the 17th and 18th centuries. It is in this clan that economic liberalism was born in reaction to "colbertism", which was the economic philosophy of the opposite clan.