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The Wrong Stuff? Creative Class Theory and Economic Performance in UK Cities

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  • Nathan, Max

Abstract

Richard Florida’s ‘creative class’ theory suggests that diverse, tolerant, ‘cool’ cities will outperform others. Ethnic minorities, gay people and counter-culturalists attract high-skilled professionals: the presence of this ‘creative class’ ensures cities get the best jobs and most dynamic companies. This paper examines Florida’s ideas, focusing on the evidence in British cities. Drawing on previously published work, it first tests the Florida model on a set of British cities, finding weak support for the creative class hypothesis. It then examines this hypothesis in detail. It finds little evidence of a creative class, and little evidence that ‘creative’ cities do better. The paper concludes that the creative class model is a poor predictor of UK city performance. There is other, stronger evidence that diversity and creativity are linked to urban economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Nathan, Max, 2007. "The Wrong Stuff? Creative Class Theory and Economic Performance in UK Cities," MPRA Paper 29486, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:29486
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    File URL: https://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/29486/1/MPRA_paper_29486.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. Sylvie Charlot & Gilles Duranton, 2006. "Cities and Workplace Communication: Some Quantitative French Evidence," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 43(8), pages 1365-1394, July.
    3. Rice, Patricia & Venables, Anthony J. & Patacchini, Eleonora, 2006. "Spatial determinants of productivity: Analysis for the regions of Great Britain," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 727-752, November.
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    5. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2016. "The economic value of cultural diversity: evidence from US cities," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 7, pages 229-264 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    6. Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2006. "Urban Resurgence and the Consumer City," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 43(8), pages 1275-1299, July.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Emanuela Marrocu & Raffaele Paci, 2011. "Education or just Creativity: what matters most for economic performance?," ERSA conference papers ersa11p199, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Amitrajeet Batabyal & Hamid Beladi, 2014. "A model of trade between creative regions in the presence of sector specific learning by doing," Journal of Evolutionary Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 573-585, July.
    3. Margaret Olfert & Mark Partridge, 2011. "Creating the Cultural Community: Ethnic Diversity vs. Agglomeration," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(1), pages 25-55.
    4. Mark D. Partridge & M. Rose Olfert, 2011. "The Winners' Choice: Sustainable Economic Strategies for Successful 21st-Century Regions," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 33(2), pages 143-178.
    5. Lee, Neil & Nathan, Max, 2011. "Does cultural diversity help innovation in cities: evidence from London firms," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 33579, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    6. Starodubskaya, Irina & Lobodanova, Dina, 2013. "The creative class and creative city: Russian refraction," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, pages 127-149, October.
    7. Roberto Antonietti, 2011. "From creativity to innovativeness: micro evidence from Italy," Openloc Working Papers 1117, Public policies and local development.
    8. Igor Dubina & Elias Carayannis & David Campbell, 2012. "Creativity Economy and a Crisis of the Economy? Coevolution of Knowledge, Innovation, and Creativity, and of the Knowledge Economy and Knowledge Society," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 3(1), pages 1-24, March.
    9. repec:bla:rgscpp:v:8:y:2016:i:4:p:167-175 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Donovan, Pierce J. & Batabyal, Amitrajeet A., 2015. "On economic growth and investment income taxation in a creative region," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 67-72.
    11. Möller Joachim & Tubadji Annie, 2009. "The Creative Class, Bohemians and Local Labor Market Performance: A Micro-data Panel Study for Germany 1975–2004," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 229(2-3), pages 270-291, April.
    12. Usman, Umer & Batabyal, Amitrajeet A., 2014. "Goods production, learning by doing, and growth in a region with creative and physical capital," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 33(C), pages 92-99.
    13. Stephan Brunow & Antonia Birkeneder & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2018. "Creative and science-oriented employees and firm-level innovation," Papers in Evolutionary Economic Geography (PEEG) 1808, Utrecht University, Department of Human Geography and Spatial Planning, Group Economic Geography, revised Feb 2018.
    14. Max Nathan & Neil Lee, 2013. "Cultural Diversity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Firm-level Evidence from London," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 89(4), pages 367-394, October.
    15. Annie Tubadji, 2012. "Culture-based development: empirical evidence for Germany," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 39(9), pages 690-703, July.
    16. Amitrajeet A. Batabyal & Hamid Beladi, 2015. "The importance of creative capital for economic growth in the presence of learning by doing," Regional Science Policy & Practice, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 7(4), pages 187-197, November.
    17. Annie Tubadji & Peter Nijkamp, 2013. "Cultural Distance and Gravity Effects among Migrants," ERSA conference papers ersa13p484, European Regional Science Association.
    18. ., 2014. "Urban policies," Chapters,in: Urban Economics and Urban Policy, chapter 8, pages 185-218 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cities; economic development; urban economics; creative class; diversity; culture; creativity;

    JEL classification:

    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights

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