In his new book, UC Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti examines why places like the Bay Area, Boston and Austin have become “brain hubs,” attracting creative workers and higher-paying jobs while other regions — such as those once dominated by traditional manufacturing — are languishing.

‘The New Geography of Jobs’ 18 July,2012forum

Enrico Moretti, professor of economics at UC Berkeley and author of "The New Geography of Jobs"

  • Rufus

    Looks like a fraudulent website and/or phishing scam from someone in St Cloud, Minnesota. There’s nothing on the page to indicate it’s a 501c3 or has any charitable status.

  • Noelle

    I saw the speaker at Kepler’s bookstore. I didn’t get a chance to ask him about the decline of unions. Union members were able to make a living wage without having to have a college degree. Now we see many burdened with college debt, whether they graduated or not and this is going to have a huge impact on our economy and our society. So many of these discussions ignore the importance of unions in maintaining the middle class.

  • Guest

    May be the “creative folks” move to Bay Area and Boston since they have outsourced much of manufacturing, and don’t have to mingle with blue collar workers, work in dusty buildings and follow union rules.  They also get to keep more money in their pockets and pay less to the overseas workers.

    • And increasingly, they don’t have to pony up payroll taxes in San Francisco. Sure, they’d love to change the tax structure to reflect “profits” but as we all know, the most creative part of startups is their accounting department.

  • Betsy

    Not true for the life sciences any longer.  In the past few years, a precipitous decline in funding for new life science technology companies (research, medical device, diagnostic, biopharmaceutical) has resulted from the massive train wreck called the FDA and the flight of venture and angel capital from the life sciences in the U.S.  Once the proud leader of innovative health care technology, now the US seems content to have most life science R&D outsourced to overseas hubs (such as Singapore, China, India).   I have been in the business of helping small life science companies and startups commercialize their technology for over 30 years, and have done so in the Bay Area since 1990.  Never have I seen so many out-of-work PhD scientists apply for entry level jobs requiring only a bachelor’s degree!  Micropockets of activity still exist, but certainly not enough to create any sustainable level of job growth activity in the life sciences.

    • Fred

       Companies that outsource need to be shut down or banned. Free markets and competition are all very well but what these companies all seem to be seeking is world-wide monopolies. They are just as much a threat to freedom and democracy as the Soviets once were.

  • Tailor Made

    Let’s not forget NYC’s current renaissance in technology jobs.  With the emergence of products and services that are reliant more on content than hardware the city’s traditional role as the media sector of the world is being reinvigorated.  Also look at the decision to build Cornell’s new science and technology campus on Roosevelt Island, just a few hundred yards from Manhattan’s East Side.

    • Fred

       And the cost of a 1 bedroom apartment in Manhattan is, according to mayor Bloomberg himself, $4000 per month. (I’ve seen them for $2000 per month. That includes two months down and one month security.)

    • Stanford passed on the chance to build a campus in New York.  Cornell grads will simply not get the job traction New York is counting on.

  • Please do not forget this is global, not just restricted to talent flow in the US.  This morning’s news, for example, included a new Brookings report showing again that Silicon Valley is the number one user of H1B visas.

  • Rhet

    Matthew Iglesias wrote  in his ebook The Rent Is Too Damn High about the fact that people increasingly cannot afford to live where the jobs are.

  • Guest

    Below is the list of where job growth will be thru 2020 per Bureau of Labor Statistics.  SF/Bary Area is not included, curious to know what your guest thinks?

    Below then is the BLS’s list of the top 10 U.S. metro areas (out of the top 100 largest metros) for projected job growth:
    1. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 2. Bethesda-Rockville-Frederick, MD 3. Colorado Springs, CO 4. New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ 5. El Paso, TX 6. Springfield, MA 7. Baton Rouge, LA 8. Tacoma, WA 9. Baltimore-Towson, MD 10. San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX

  • Design is here now, but it will not stay here forever.

  • RegularLIstener

    Characterizing the Bay Area & some of these other regopns are supposedly “high wage” ignores the astronomical price of housing here (& several other areas: NYC, LA etc.) You need to look at real wages, which subtracts actual cost of living from nominal wages.
    My brother has much less education than I (I have PhD he a BA) but has a much high standard of living because housing costs in the supposedly “depressed” rural area he lives in a small Ohio college town are at over 5X lower.

  • Sfmmr

    I am a living example of Mr. Moretti’s point.  I moved from Flint to SF in 1984. I grew up in Flint, MI and my father was Chief of Police and then Mayor  for 8 years in the late 70’s and early 80’s.  He was re-elected again when Flint was almost put in receivership several years ago. There is no doubt that my lifetime earnings would have greatly been reduced if I had remained in Flint, even with the Master’s degree.  Moreover, my children have great opportunities are are exposed to broader options for careers growing up in a vibrant place such as the Bay Area.  The diversity of San Francisco is rich both socially and economically. 

  • Thanks Moretti for two good comments. One, on college debt overstated. Yes, as long as the college attendee is circumspect about future prospects and hard working no less than expeditious in achieving a degree.  The other, the characterization of attitudes and beliefs, in places such as Visalia, as being effects, not causes of their economic status.

  • Douglas Kearns

    Is wealth the ultimate definition of worthwhile value?
    So much of what is produced in these “idea” communities has to do more with convenience, entertainment and novelty (much of which becomes obsolete within a very short time). What about food shelter and clothing? These places require slave wage workers to fulfill their basic needs.

  • Lramsden

    In comparing Silicon Valley to Visalia, let’s remember the impact of agribusiness on water and air pollution for residents and workers in Tulare County. Urban residents in higher wage areas are benefitting from inexpensive food while the people who work in the diaries and drink well water polluted by nitrates bear the costs in poor health and degraded equity in their homes. The United Nations Special Rappateur on the Human Right to Water and Sanitation was stunned by what she saw in her mission to California. It is as if the urban areas have colonized the rural parts of California.

  • A_l_kshirsagar

    Although I see value of the multiplier effect of innovation, to bootstrap the US economy, we would need a couple of orders of magnitude of innovation.  Is that feasible in the short term?  I would also get the US government to provide significantly more incentives to bring manufacturing jobs back to the US.  We cannot survive on innovation alone.

    (from a hi-tech company in the valley who has lived and worked in Detroit)

  • Lordonlow

    The author uses geography as an apriori determinant, and it’s easy to see his argument. However, I have a real problem believing that things such as politicized and institutionalized racism, for instance, are surpassed by geography.

    After all, President Jackson forced the Natives out of Georgia and thus began the Trail of Tears. Geography was a player in that the politics and economics desired the *gold* in Georgia. But to say that Natives are struggling (largely? primarily?) due to geography as opposed to power pushing them around… well I find intellectually lacking, to say the least.

  • Steve

    The aggregation of educated citizens has more flavor than this.  I discovered in Michigan in the 60’s that the transition from rural to the city occurred in at least two steps.  The middle-class kids from middle-sized Midland were moving to the more interesting large cities (Chicago and New York rather than Detroit), while the small-town and farm kids were moving to Midland.


  • Momntwins

    To ameliorate the astronomical cost of college, I am in I support an extra year of high school. Many countries around the world do a 3 year undergraduate degree. A 4 year Law degree and a 6 year medical degree. I feel we don’t have the luxury of going to college 8-12 years just to a professional degree. We will be burden with debt for the most of our productive years.

  • Melv

    The physical mobility being discussed is facilitated and made possible by the explosion in communication devices. Migrants can maintain social,business, political ties with the places and populations from which they came. On the other hand not enough attention has been paid to what happens when face-face relationship become more fractured and lessenned when the bulk of human communication is through mechanical means

  • Ted

    You make many great points in this show. The last numbers I recall on the % of college grads of current student population is roughy 25%. The high school dropout rate nationally around 25%. Based on your analysis, the future is bleak for the majority of the population. You describe carpenters as service workers like cap drivers. When you and guests used the word Evengelicals, it was a slur (must be the new group think). The data on high tech and innovation is credible, no doubt. But examples such as as the nurse who correctly described “attack ads by mgt on the union” and industries such as life sciences outsourcing overseas—and many more—the real world continues to recast the numbers. Hopefully the world you envision will not be our fate as only a priviledged few can live in it and even them, only for a few years of productivity—your vision of America is disturbing and I hope dead wrong.

  • John_Bennett

    We hear “tax and spend” as a slogan in Congress
    How about: 
    Tax Wall Street
    Spend on job creation

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