What drives growth in America’s metro regions?

Chris Benner and Manuel Pastor have been workin on a project looking at local regions in US and what drives growth in them. It is called Just Growth? Social Equity and Metropolitan Economic Performance. Here is an excerpt from the book.

Here is an interview of Chris Benner. He says unlike what most think, more equal the region, higher is its growth:

We explore here some of the case studies that he uses to explain the processes, policies and institutional arrangements that have allowed certain regions around the country to consistently link prosperity and inclusion. The case studies range from that of the highly conservative Oklahoma City, where citizens actually voted to increase taxes three times in the last twenty years to invest in major public sector investment programs as they realized the need to tap into their own resources to build their community, to the case of Salt Lake City, where the Mormon Church, a private faith based institution, worked with the non-profit organization Envision Utah to develop a long term participatory approach to growth. One size doesn’t fit all, and each regional metropolitan area that Chris studies has developed its own approach.

But underlying the different approaches Chris finds a unifying theme: that knowledge is power, and those places that have a more diverse knowledge base will be more equitable and will more likely grow faster in the coming years.

Chris also discusses the changing nature of employment in America in the face of our “jobless recovery” and the ways in which we may therefore need to rethink the structure of our labor markets. With the average time an American spends in any job now at just four and a half years, search and transition costs of employment have changed significantly, necessitating considerations of new solutions. One such idea is to institute a basic income, something that it is being considered more seriously than ever before especially in the high turnover industries such as the technology sector in Silicon Valley.

Looks like an interesting thing to read.

Much of economic analysis especially on these development type issues is based on aggregate level. What is needed instead is to bring regional/local economy issues. It makes for a far better understanding of what makes economy tick.

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