Economic Policy Program
Two key pillars of any aspirationalregion worth its weight aredynamism in its economy andgrowth in its population.
start businesses, and where people move to increase theirhopes o upward mobility. Good indicators o aspirationalcities and regions are population growth (especially amongyoung people), income and job growth, new enterprises andcommercialized innovation, and the whole cluster o quality o lie measures such as a avorable cost o living and goodeducational options.Policymakers, thought-shapers, and business leaders in thetransatlantic community can learn a lot by taking a careullook at the geographies o opportunity within Westerncountries.
The Elite Club: Dallas, Houston, Stockholm,and Stuttgart
At rst glance, Dallas, Houston, Stockholm, and Stuttgartmight seem like an odd grouping, but they have one thingin common: they are the only our Western cities in theBrookings Global MetroMonitor’s list o the 40 strongestmetro economies worldwide.
Given that 95 percent o theslowest growing largest metro economies in the world are inNorth America and Europe, the act that these our Westerncities are in the
h is noteworthy.Te Brookings ranking is a dierent, and probably moreimportant, way o comparing cities than the more commonindexes o wealth, inuence, quality o lie, and economicactivity, such Knight-Frank Global Cities Index.
Suchindexes tend to avor larger, more western cities becauseo the quality o lie and inuence measures that areused (though ewer western cities rank in the top ten oneconomic activity each year).Te Brookings study rather looks at a ew straightorwardmetrics united by one common concern – growth. Whenwe look at income and employment growth, as the Metro-Monitor does, we get a good sense o the trajectory o aneconomy. It’s no surprise that the astest growth is occur-ring in Asia, Latin and South America, and Arica. What
surprising is that two U.S. and two European cities made itin the top 40. It raises the obvious question: what is goingon in those our places such that they are outpacing the
1 Emilia Istrate, Alan Berube, and Cary Anne Nadeau,
Global MetroMonitor 2011
average growth rats o their own countries and the regionsaround them?Tese our cities have other things in common besidesranking high in the MetroMonitor list. In act, it is in virtueo the act that they share some important characteris-tics that they are likely to have made it into the top tier o Brookings’ list. Te MetroMonitor notes that these ourWestern cities turned in a solid showing due to their expan-sion in high value commodities, manuacturing, and nan-cial services. But the sources o these cities’ perormance godeeper than this, as we shall see.wo key pillars o any aspirational region worth its weightare dynamism in its economy and growth in its popula-tion. Economic dynamism can take several orms. Oneis entrepreneurial activity understood as startups or new enterprises. Another is the ability to commercialize andexpand innovation (innovation or its own sake is notdynamism). Yet another is an above-average growth rate in jobs in growing sectors o the economy. An above-averagepercentage o children in a growing economy is typically a good indicator. Population growth can happen throughhigh birth rates, positive immigration, or both.
Energetic, Disruptive Economies
Why do Houston, Dallas, Stockholm, and Stuttgartperorm so well? Te answer, rst, lies in their ability tobreak through the average perormance o others withintheir environs when it comes to enterprising activity. Tey represent energetic activity amidst seas o relative economiclethargy. Tey are disruptive not necessarily in the “creativedestruction” sense commonly deployed by libertarians butin the sense that they nd new ways o creating income,