Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation,
Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies

No 112: THE CREATIVE CLASS AND SOCIAL CAPITAL - civil society, regional development and high-tech employment in Japan

Hans Westlund and Federica Calidoni-Lundberg
Additional contact information
Hans Westlund: KTH and JIBS
Federica Calidoni-Lundberg: Swedish Institute for Growth Policy Studies

Abstract: Do the social and cultural environments have any impact on regional development, expressed in terms of e.g. entrepreneurship, innovations and growth of new industries? A rapidly increasing field of research has found many indications on that such an impact of the civil society exists. In the literature, two partly contradicting hypotheses can be discerned: 1. Florida’s hypothesis, saying that a heterogeneous civil society with diverse values combined with tolerance is influencing regional growth in a positive way, and 2. Putnam’s hypothesis, saying that a homogenous civil society with common norms and values and trust between its citizens is having a positive impact on regional development.This paper studies the validity of these two hypotheses on the current regional development in Japan,measured in four alternative ways: population growth, the high-tech sector’s and high-tech services’ regional distribution, and the net growth of enterprises. As determining variables, we use data from the Japanese General Social Surveys’ International Comparative Survey on Values and Behavioral Patterns, Non-Profit Organizations per capita and share of the population being born abroad, plus control variables in the form of market accessibility and human capital. On detailed regional level (46 prefectures) the analysis does not give any significant support to any of the civil society hypotheses. However, on large-region level (8 regions) the civil society measure gives a significant result for high-tech industry and services.

Keywords: Regional development; Social capital; Creative class; Civil society; Japan; High-tech industry

JEL-codes: J24; O33; R11; R12

38 pages, December 11, 2007

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