Why Education Isn't A Silver Bullet For Urban Economic Development
The metro economy is the national economy. Whenever I see a map with state-level data, I think about the cities driving the numbers. I don't care how Georgia is doing. Tell me more about Atlanta. Thus, I find this story about "urban-development legends" disconcerting:
The [Richard] Florida approach has also led to a renewed emphasis on education, on the assumption that an educated population will probably have much in common with a creative one. But improving local schools, while important in its own right, isn’t a proven economic-development tool, at least for struggling cities. After all, an educated population is an asset that can be lost. A city with poor development prospects is doing the right thing in educating its young effectively, of course, but it is also increasing the chances that they will leave, which is good for the students but makes the city even poorer. Indeed, the fact that education in America is usually financed locally means that richer cities are essentially free riders, importers of labor educated elsewhere.
In the short term, labour mobility is an important tool for a prosperous national economy. In the long term, it can lead to permanently weakened regional economies requiring billions of dollars in annual transfer payments from more prosperous regions.We need to break down barriers to labour mobility across Canada but at the same time we need to foster policies that promote economic growth in all regions of the country.
Sustainable Cities Collective