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Creating an environment for economic growth: creativity, entrepreneurship or human capital?

Faggian, Alessandra and Partridge, Mark and Malecki, Ed (2016): Creating an environment for economic growth: creativity, entrepreneurship or human capital?

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Abstract

Researchers have long searched for the underlying causes of growth. In developed countries, as they shifted from industrial to knowledge economies, researchers have recently stressed the following sources of growth embodied in its workforce: human capital (linked to education), entrepreneurship (variously measured), and the creative class (associated with worker occupations). This study first proposes new conceptual ways to portray the interrelationship of these knowledge-based attributes. Then simultaneously considers all of these factors in an empirical model using U.S. counties. We find that human capital as measured by educational attainment and the intensity of small and medium-sized firms are statistically associated with subsequent growth, while other factors such as the share of creative class workers or the share of advanced technology industries are insignificant. We conclude that economic development strategies are too focused on attracting large outside firms and attracting advanced technology firms and not enough attention is given to building a foundation of competitive small and medium-sized firms.

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