‘Stars’ and the connectivity of cultural industry world cities: an empirical social network analysis of human capital mobility and its implications for economic development
Many scholars have studied the role of human capital and its social networks in order to understand uneven economic development. The cultural industries have become a focal point in this line of inquiry. In this paper we study the linkages across cultural industry hubs, with particular focus on the role of ‘star’ human capital networks in the establishment of connectivity and dominance by a few particular cities. To date, no one has used a technique that directly connects individuals across space and empirically follows the social networks of human capital across major economic hubs. We use a unique dataset, Getty Images photographs, and undertake social network analysis to study the social networks and human capital movement within the cultural industries. We collected caption information on over 600 000 photographs, 6754 individuals, 12 777 industry social events, and 187 locations. We analyzed these photographic data to determine whether empirical social connections could tell us something meaningful about cultural industry human capital mobility and its impact on the places in which it locates. Our results empirically reaffirm preexisting knowledge of cultural hubs, but we go farther by articulating the connectivity between these places and identifying the social relations and human capital that appear to correlate with their competitive advantage. Keywords: cultural industries, world cities, global cities, economic development, social networks, human capital
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