The Creative Class and Competitiveness

On October 3rd, Richard Florida, Charlotta Mellander, and Kevin Stollarick of the Martin Prosperity Institute through the University of Toronto, released a study researching America’s economic competitiveness on a global scale, taking into consideration innovation, technology, and human capital.  The results of this study are being published throughout the week on The Atlantic Cities.  Thus far the Global Technology Index and the Global Creative Class Index have been featured.

The Global Technology Index takes into consideration the technological and innovative capacities of a country.  Florida et al measured research and development efforts, scientific research and talent, and the level of innovation to reach their results.  The United States ranked sixth in research and development efforts, seventh in scientific research and talent (measured by scientific and engineering researchers per capita), and first in innovation (measured by patents per capita). When combined, the United States is ranked third overall in the Global Technology Index, followed by Finland (first) and Japan (second).

The Global Creative Class determined by Florida et al focuses on human capital. Instead of measuring human capital by level of education or degrees received, they measured the proportion of a country’s workforce in “high skill, high wage Creative Class jobs,” which include STEM, business, entertainment, healthcare, and education fields.  The United States ranks 27th in this index, although the author explains that certain geographical areas such as Silicon Valley have Creative Classes akin to the leading countries.  Topping this list are Singapore, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, and Sweden.

This correlation of “creative” human capital and competitiveness in the global economy was also emphasized in a recent event sponsored by Business Roundtable and Harvard University and hosted by Bloomberg. University leaders and business executives attending this conference discussed an urgent need for immigration reform and permanent research and development tax credits to promote innovation.   “The United States has long been a leader in innovation,” said Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust, “but we believe it needs a more focused, national innovation policy.”

Sources: Bloomberg Businessweek, Martin Prosperity Institute, The Atlantic Cities

Photo Credit: #DS106 Creativity Portal courtesy of flickr user guilia.forsythe

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