This paper assesses the effect of Richard Florida's creative class on economic growth and development at two levels of spatial aggregation. First, I examine the dynamics of economic growth across US metropolitan regions and investigate how they relate to regional specialization and the concentration of talent in the high-tech industry. In addition to evidence of significant high-tech clusters, I identify important complementarities with regard to the interaction between the three Ts of regional development (talent, technology and tolerance) and regional growth dynamics. Using firm-level data, the regional analysis is then complemented by exploring the location of new high-technology plant openings and their relationship with university research and development (R&D) and the creative class. Specifically, I test the hypothesis that both university R&D and the presence of “creativity” generate spillovers which are captured locally in the form of new high-tech establishments, after controlling for important location factors such as local cost, demand and agglomeration economies. While the marginal impacts of increased R&D funding on county probability for new firm formation is modest, the mix of creativity and diversity—as proxied by the Florida measure—appears to be a key driver in the locational choice of new high-tech firms. Separate estimates indicate that these findings hold up across the major high-tech industries in the USA.
- regional growth,
- firm location,
- creative class,
- high-tech industry,
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/bieri/2/