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 266: The Rise of Skills: Human Capital, the Creative Class and Regional Development

Charlotta Mellander () and Richard Florida ()
Additional contact information
Charlotta Mellander: Jönköping International Business School
Richard Florida: University of Toronto

Abstract: The past couple of decades have seen what amounts to skills revolution in urban and regional economic research. From industrial location theory and Alfred Marshall’s concern for agglomeration to more recent research on high-tech districts and industrial clusters firms and industries has been the dominant unit of analysis. But since the 1990s there has been a growing focus on skills. This broad research thrust includes studies of human capital; the creative class and occupational class more broadly; and physical, cognitive and social skills, among others. This research highlights the growing geographic divergence of skills across cities and metros and their effects on regional innovation, wages, incomes and development broadly. A growing literature notes the growing importance of place in organizing and mobilizing these skills. Studies have focused on the role of amenities, universities, diversity and other place-related factor in accounting for the growing divergence of skills across locations. This article summarizes the key lines of research that constitute the skills revolution in urban and regional research.

Keywords: Human capital; creative class; regional development

JEL-codes: O15; O30

26 pages, March 13, 2012

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