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Inside the black box of regional development: human capital, the creative class and tolerance

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  • Richard Florida
  • Charlotta Mellander
  • Kevin Stolarick

Abstract

While there is a general consensus on the importance of human capital to regional development, debate has emerged around two key issues. The first involves the efficacy of educational versus occupational measures (i.e. the creative class) of human capital, while the second revolves around the factors that effect its distribution. We use structural equation models and path analysis to examine the effects of these two alternative measures of human capital on regional income and wages, and also to isolate the effects of tolerance, consumer service amenities, and the university on its distribution. We find that human capital and the creative class effect regional development through different channels. The creative class outperforms conventional educational attainment measures in accounting for regional labor productivity measured as wages, while conventional human capital does better in accounting for regional income. We find that tolerance is significantly associated with both human capital and the creative class as well as with wages and income.
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Suggested Citation

  • Richard Florida & Charlotta Mellander & Kevin Stolarick, 2008. "Inside the black box of regional development: human capital, the creative class and tolerance," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(5), pages 615-649, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jecgeo:v:8:y:2008:i:5:p:615-649
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/jeg/lbn023
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
    2. Edward L. Glaeser, Jed Kolko, and Albert Saiz, 2001. "Consumer city," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 27-50, January.
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    7. Simon, Curtis J., 1998. "Human Capital and Metropolitan Employment Growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 223-243, March.
    8. Maryann Feldman & Roger Martin, 2004. "Jurisdictional Advantage," NBER Working Papers 10802, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Christopher R. Berry & Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Divergence of Human Capital Levels Across Cities," NBER Working Papers 11617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General
    • R10 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - General
    • R20 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - General

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