Munich Personal RePEc Archive

The Wrong Stuff? Creative Class Theory and Economic Performance in UK Cities

Nathan, Max (2007): The Wrong Stuff? Creative Class Theory and Economic Performance in UK Cities. Published in: Canadian Journal of Regional Science , Vol. 3, No. XXX (1. October 2007): pp. 433-450.

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Abstract

Richard Florida’s ‘creative class’ theory suggests that diverse, tolerant, ‘cool’ cities will outperform others. Ethnic minorities, gay people and counter-culturalists attract high-skilled professionals: the presence of this ‘creative class’ ensures cities get the best jobs and most dynamic companies. This paper examines Florida’s ideas, focusing on the evidence in British cities. Drawing on previously published work, it first tests the Florida model on a set of British cities, finding weak support for the creative class hypothesis. It then examines this hypothesis in detail. It finds little evidence of a creative class, and little evidence that ‘creative’ cities do better. The paper concludes that the creative class model is a poor predictor of UK city performance. There is other, stronger evidence that diversity and creativity are linked to urban economic growth.

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