Tuesday, October 03, 2006

More 'Brain Drain' Hype

Migration is a hot topic in Ohio politics. Both Democrats and Republicans are sounding the alarm over the college-educated talent leaving the state. The Toledo Blade claims that the politicians are crying wolf:

University of Toledo research suggests both candidates for governor are misguided.

UT's Urban Affairs Center analyzed 1.11 million alumni records of Ohio graduates between 1980 and 2003. It found more than 80 percent of those who graduated between 2000 and 2003 did not leave for "cool cities" along the coast. They stayed in Ohio. Out of the entire 24-year pool of alumni, 70 percent are still Buckeyes.

The newspaper article also points out another conclusion from the study, greater education positively correlates with the likelihood of leaving the state:

The study detected another trend, which the Ohio Board of Regents confirms. Those with master's degrees, doctorates, and professional degrees are 50 percent more likely to leave Ohio than those with bachelor's degrees.

The problem is identified as one of attraction, certainly not news to this blog. The shame is that politicians are failing to properly identify the problem to the voting public and thus fail to make the necessary changes to improve the regional economy. Though the Blade is an outstanding exception, the public is misinformed and the resulting policies are ineffective. However, the politicians may be offering this shrill assessment because there is little they can do to fix things.

There are no easy answers to Ohio's woes, the article concludes. The region needs a critical mass of "great thinkers" but no one is sure how to accomplish that. Knowledge workers need a good reason to set up shop in Ohio, usually the presence of many other creative talents. The study offers that Ohio lacks ideas (patents + education), which is painfully obvious to those listening to the political hopefuls on the campaign trail.

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