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 145: Creative China? The University, Tolerance and Talent in Chinese Regional Development

Richard Florida , Charlotta Mellander and Haifeng Qian ()
Additional contact information
Richard Florida: Martin Prosperity Institute
Charlotta Mellander: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology
Haifeng Qian: School of Public Policy, George Mason University

Abstract: The relationships between talent, technology and regional development have been widely examined in the advanced economies. While there is a general consensus as to the important role talent plays in regional development, debate has emerged on two key issues. The first involves the efficacy of educational (i.e. human capital) versus occupational (i.e. the creative class) measures of talent; the second involves the factors affecting the distribution of talent. In this study, we have used structural equation models and path analysis. We employed both educational and occupational measures of talent to examine the relationships between talent, technology and regional economic performance in China, and to isolate the effects of tolerance, differing levels of consumer service amenities, and the location of universities on the distribution of talent. Contrary to the findings of empirical studies on the developed economies, we found the relationships between the distribution of talent and technology and between the distribution of talent and regional economic performance in China to be weak. We found the presence of universities – a factor highly influenced by government policy – and the actual stock of talent to be strongly related. We also found that tolerance, as measured by the “Hukou index,” plays an important role in the distribution of talent and technology in China.

Keywords: China; Talent; Human Capital; Creative Class; Tolerance; Technology; Regional Development

JEL-codes: O30; P30; R12

37 pages, October 13, 2008

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