Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Richard Florida Fires Back

Richard Florida has plenty of fans. He also has his detractors. I blogged about the controversy concerning Florida's creativity index and the Milken Institute's urban performance rankings. I didn't make clear the distinction I see between the two data sets. I understand the creativity index as a predictive model. I see the Milken numbers as a measure past performance. Rich finally responded to the criticism in the Globe and Mail, confirming my suspicion:

At bottom, the basic difference between the Milken measure of best-performing cities and my own creativity index stems from what we try to measure. The Milken measure attempts to gauge year-over-year economic performance through factors like employment growth. My creativity index focuses on the key factors that shape economic development in the long-run.

The debate about causality and correlation aside, calling out Rich because his results don't mirror Milken's struck me as shoddy thinking. However, I was more interested in the Memphis story. Stakeholders in Memphis expressed dismay about their rankings in the Milken Report. They expended to see a dividend from applying Florida's empirical research.

Should better results in the creativity index lead to a rise in the Milken rankings? If so, what is the time frame for improvement?

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