The Economic Geography of Talent

The paper explores the economic geography of talent. It argues that the distribution of talent –that is high human capital individuals –plays a fundamental role in the distribution of high-tech firms and in regional economic outcomes. To shed light on these issues, this paper summarizes the results of statistical research as well as interview and focus groups. The findings shed light on the geography of talent, the factors that shape that geographic distribution, and the effects of talent and the location of high-technology industry and other regional outcomes. They indicate hat the economic geography is talent is associated with diversity (low entry barriers) and quality of place. Talent in turn attracts high-technology industry. Together, talent and technology based industries generate positive regional economic outcomes in the form of higher per capita incomes. The findings further suggest that the ability to attract talent is a fundamental dimension of city and regional growth. This contrasts with the preoccupation in the extant literature that emphasizes the attraction of firms and the formation of industrial clusters. It is talent that orients the location decisions of firms and which underpins the formation and evolution of industrial clusters. Furthermore, the research suggests that places matter significantly in the economic geography of talent. Places provide the infrastructure required to generate, attract, and retain talent. Place-based advantages stem in turn from two underlying economic factors: low entry barriers to human capital and efficiencies in the delivery of consumer services. Simply put, there is an economic rationale behind what may be perceived as “nice”places to live.

From Working paper, published on 31-12-2002
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  • Innovation research
  • Business strategy


  • Education and learning processes
  • Information Technologies
  • Networks and clusters
  • Region
  • skills for innovation
  • Technology

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