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

  • Nathan, Max

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.

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File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/29486/1/MPRA_paper_29486.pdf
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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 29486.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2007
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Publication status: Published in Canadian Journal of Regional Science XXX.3(2007): pp. 433-450
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:29486
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Web page: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de

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  1. Michael Storper & Anthony J. Venables, 2004. "Buzz: face-to-face contact and the urban economy," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(4), pages 351-370, August.
  2. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2004. "The Economic Value of Cultural Diversity: Evidence from US Cities," Working Papers 2004.34, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  3. Patricia Rice & Tony Venables, 2004. "Spatial determinants of productivity: analysis for the regions of Great Britain," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2040, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  4. 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.
  5. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2000. "Power Couples: Changes In The Locational Choice Of The College Educated, 1940-1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1287-1315, November.
  6. Ron Martin & Peter Sunley, 2002. "Deconstructing Clusters: Chaotic Concept or Policy Panacea," ESRC Centre for Business Research - Working Papers wp244, ESRC Centre for Business Research.
  7. Max Nathan & Adam Marshall, 2006. "Them and us," Public Policy Review, Institute for Public Policy Research, vol. 13(2), pages 109-118.
  8. Ann Markusen, 2006. "Urban development and the politics of a creative class: evidence from a study of artists," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 38(10), pages 1921-1940, October.
  9. Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2006. "Urban Resurgence and the Consumer City," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2109, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  10. Jamie Peck, 2005. "Struggling with the Creative Class," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(4), pages 740-770, December.
  11. 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.
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