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Why Are Skilled Cities Getting More Skilled?

Tuesday January 2006


Edward L. Glaeser Director, Taubman Center for State and Local Government; and Director, Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston John F. Kennedy School of Government Harvard University

Dr. Edward Glaeser’s work has focused on the determinants of city growth and he finds that residents of fastergrowing cities appear to be better educated than their counterparts in struggling urban areas. His research suggests that, aside from climate, education may be the most powerful predictor of urban growth.

So what can cities do to attract and retain a highly educated work force? Dr. Glaeser argues that cities and regions are more likely to thrive when basic services and amenities are provided, when they invest in education, keep streets safe, encourage housing development through reducing barriers to building, and rely on a reasonable and fair tax system that does not let tax rates skyrocket.

Dr. Glaeser discussed the critical relationship between a city’s ability to engage educated, high-skill workers and the dynamic created that influences a city’s future.