How can rural areas bolster their ability to compete? That's a question I am frequently asked.
Now a fantastic paper by David McGranahan and Timothy Wojak of the USDA sheds important light on this issue. Honestly, this paper is so good at so many levels it blows me away.
McGranahan and Wojak supplement and test my creativity theory making two very important contributions.
- First, they use detailed data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on the functional requirements of more than a thousand job titles to improve upon my definition of creative occupations. This alone is a major undertaking and significant contribution in refining and more closely calibrating the definition of the creative class. Using this definition they find that: "The econometric test of the creative class provides strong support for the notion that creativity has an effect on growth independent of human capital." The results are considerably stronger using their revised and "tightened" measure of creative occupations.
- Second, they extend the analysis to include rural as well as urban and metropolitan areas. Rural areas are competing for the creative class, according to their analysis. Their results show significant creative class concentrations in outlying suburban and rural areas. In rural settings, the creative class is drawn to more densely populated counties, active outdoor recreation, and other quality of place amenities.
The study is here.