Monday, December 15, 2014

Where Innovation Thrives

There is no geography of innovation at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Innovation geography.

Subject Article: "What Still Makes Silicon Valley So Special."

Other Links: 1. "The Urban Tech Revolution."
2. "The Question is Moot."
3. "How Competition Saved New York."
4. "Searching for Silicon Valley in the Rust Belt: The Evolution of Knowledge Networks in Akron and Rochester."
5. "Cultural diversity and entrepreneurship: Evidence from England and Wales."
6. "Diversity Cult."

Postscript: Dense cities are not innately more innovative geographies. New ideas don't necessarily love old buildings. A lot of folklore out there dressed up as academic analysis resulting in lazy and lousy economic development policy.

Friday, December 05, 2014

Why Attracting Young, College-Educated Migrants Hurts Sun Belt Cities

At Pacific Standard magazine, how attracting and retaining college-educated young adults exacerbates economic inequality.

Theme: Economic development and migration.

Subject Article: "Jobs for young Southerners: Thanks for nothing."

Other Links: 1. "Burgh Diaspora."
2. "Migration as a Measure of Economic Health."
3. "We Got More Educated, We Are Better Off... Right? An Analysis of Regional Conversion of Bachelors Degree Attainment into Positive Labor Market Outcomes."
4. "Why It's So Hard for Millennials to Find a Place to Live and Work."
5. "Voting with Your Feet: Aaron Renn's New Donut."

Postscript: Over the past few months, I've been researching Pittsburgh's economic turnaround. What caused it? One important lesson is the difference between consuming human capital and putting human capital to work. Attracting college-educated migrants in and of itself seems to have a negative impact on a region. Jobs don't follow people. But where people follow jobs that require higher education, positive labor market incomes tend to appear. The zero-sum game of amassing the most educated workforce doesn't promote economic development. What does is research and development activities at universities and colleges.

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Migration as a Measure of Economic Health

Asheville, North Carolina cursed with attracting young, college-educated migrants at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Economic development and migration.

Subject Article: "Striking out with college grads."

Other Links: 1. "Dallas Losing at the Competition of Cities."
2. "Estimating the social return to higher education:evidence from longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional data."
3. "The Effect of College Location on Migration of College-Educated Labor."
4. "Do Colleges and Universities Increase Their Region's Human Capital?"
5. "We Got More Educated, We Are Better Off...Right?"
6. "An Exploration of Factors Influencing the Conversion of Bachelor’s Degree Attainment into a Better Labor Market."

Postscript: Why this analysis matters:

In 2008, Louisville set out to boost its college-educated workforce — setting the goal for half its working-age adults to hold associate or bachelor's degrees by 2020. ...

... "Louisville is not gaining enough ground toward the bachelor's degree goal," according to the latest progress report, which comes amid rising tuition costs, an improving economy and population growth that pushes the total degrees needed to 59,000.

Although high-school graduation and college-readiness rates are improving, enrollments at local colleges and universities have fallen by 11 percent since 2010, the report found, particularly among adults and African Americans.

Louisville wants to raise the college educational attainment rate of its workforce. The region is going about the task in the wrong way. First, increasing the number of local college graduates does not appear to be an effective way to give the rate a boost. Second, even if the effort was successful, Louisville probably wouldn't see positive labor market outcomes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Geography of Real Estate Markets Is Shifting Under Our Feet

Real estate markets where occupancy is optional at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Globalization and gentrification.

Subject Article: "New Era estate scandal: families at the mercy of international speculators. Homes across the capital have turned into international assets and their residents now merely live in financial instruments."

Other Links: 1. "Vancouver housing prices tied to China’s economic growth: No real estate downturn in sight, Conference Board economist says."
2. "The brave world of super-commuters."
3. "Why New Yorkers Are Moving to Philly and What It Means for Our City."

Postscript: Greater Greater NYC is pulling up a bunch of cities in its orbit. The same can't be said for Greater Greater London:

Britain’s cities are falling either side of a divide. A few—mainly the big ones—are growing at the core and faltering towards the edge. London’s highest levels of unemployment used to be in the inner city borough of Tower Hamlets, now they’re in the suburbs of Greater London: Barking and Dagenham and Newham. Between 1998 and 2008, Birmingham’s private sector job numbers stayed flat but moved inward (they grew 27% at the centre). But most of Britain’s towns and cities—places like Luton, Wakefield, Sunderland—are doing precisely the opposite: the action is on the outskirts, the centres ever more deserted. Fully 22% of Sheffield’s central business units stand empty; in 2011 McDonald’s left Rochdale centre (though not its edges). If London is getting more like Paris, these towns increasingly resemble America’s sprawling cities, such as Cleveland and Houston.

What gives? Just spitballing, the NYC effect on Philly might be the equivalent of the London effect on European cities outside of the UK. Paris is like a suburb of London given the very functional commute. Thus, UK cities further down the urban hierarchy don't see any trickle down from London's powerful agglomeration economy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Geography of Innovation, or, Why Almost All Japanese People Hate Root Beer

For innovation, migration trumps density at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Innovation geography.

Subject Article: "Downtown and out? The truth about Tony Hsieh’s $350m Las Vegas project."

Other Links: 1. "Why almost all Japanese people hate root beer."
2. "Our Japanese reporter visits an American sushi restaurant in Japan."

Postscript: The folly of engineering serendipity:

Between 1997 and 2012, Jussieu’s campus in Paris’s Left Bank reshuffled its labs’ locations five times due to ongoing asbestos removal, giving the faculty no control and little warning of where they would end up. An MIT professor named Christian Catalini later catalogued the 55,000 scientific papers they published during this time and mapped the authors’ locations across more than a hundred labs. Instead of having their life’s work disrupted, Jussieu’s researchers were three to five times more likely to collaborate with their new odd-couple neighbors than their old colleagues, did so nearly four to six times more often, and produced better work because of it (as measured by citations).

Forced to be nomads, the researchers did better work. The magic of cities are new odd-couple neighbors, not great density.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Brain Drain Is Economic Development

What I mean when I write "brain drain is economic development" at Pacific Standard magazine.

Theme: Migration and economic development.

Subject Article: "A Cuban Brain Drain, Courtesy of the U.S."

Other Links: 1. "Big cities are dominating the recovery, leaving the rest of America behind."
2. "Cuba’s Talent Export Strategy."
3. "Dublin: the tiger’s roaring tech hub."
4. "Ireland to phase out tax break used by technology firms."
5. "Innovation nation: Show us the money before it's too late."
6. "A Global Role for Universities: Helping Firms Boost Exports."
7. "Era of Dying Places."

Postscript: Brain drain is a firm concern. For example, consider workforce development:

Ireland has been ranked in 6th place among 60 countries in terms of its ability to develop, attract and retain talent for companies. It is also placed in 13th spot in a separate poll on the best places in the world to do business. ... 
... “The best-ranked countries have a balanced approach between their commitment to education, investment in developing local talent, and their ability to attract overseas talent,” said Prof Arturo Bris, director of the IMD World Competitiveness Center. “Countries with smart talent strategies are also highly agile in developing policies that improve their talent pipeline.”

For talent, migration is brain gain. For companies, migration is a loss of intellectual property. Workforce development programs share the view of companies. Talent is developed for the benefit of local companies. In this sense, the interests of business are at odds with the interests of talent. Countries that are pro-business are necessarily anti-talent. Workforce development is nothing more than a public subsidy for private businesses. That's a rotten policy.