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Creativity, clusters and the competitive advantage of cities

Roger Martin (Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Richard Florida (Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Melissa Pogue (Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada)
Charlotta Mellander (Jönköping International Business School, Jönköping University, Jönköping, Sweden)

Competitiveness Review

ISSN: 1059-5422

Article publication date: 19 October 2015

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Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to marry Michael Porter’s industrial cluster theory of traded and local clusters to Richard Florida’s occupational approach of creative and routine workers to gain a better understanding of the process of economic development.

Design/methodology/approach

Combining these two approaches, four major industrial-occupational categories are identified. The shares of US employment in each – creative-in-traded, creative-in-local, routine-in-traded and routine-in-local – are calculated, and a correlation analysis is used to examine the relationship of each to regional economic development indicators.

Findings

Economic growth and development is positively related to employment in the creative-in-traded category. While metros with a higher share of creative-in-traded employment enjoy higher wages and incomes overall, these benefits are not experienced by all worker categories. The share of creative-in-traded employment is also positively and significantly associated with higher inequality. After accounting for higher median housing costs, routine workers in both traded and local industries are found to be relatively worse off in metros with high shares of creative-in-traded employment, on average.

Social implications

This work points to the imperative for the US Government and industry to upgrade routine jobs, which make up the majority of all employment, by increasing the creative content of this work.

Originality/value

The research is among the first to systematically marry the industry and occupational approaches to clusters and economic development.

Keywords

Citation

Martin, R., Florida, R., Pogue, M. and Mellander, C. (2015), "Creativity, clusters and the competitive advantage of cities", Competitiveness Review, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 482-496. https://doi.org/10.1108/CR-07-2015-0069

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited