Growing cities that work for all: a capability-based approach to regional economic competitiveness

Innovation Economic development Labour market Skilled workforce Community development Competitiveness United States of America

This research aims to provide insights to local leaders on how the rapidly changing economy is reshaping communities’ distinct advantages and opportunities. Because this plays out differently depending on the unique mix of industries in each city, and the implicit capabilities they depend on, each community needs to chart its own tailored strategies toward growth. We propose a framework for regions to grow good jobs through capability-based industrial development strategies where firms specify the inputs they need to be productive and cities become more resilient and attractive as they invest in those inputs.

The main objectives of this report are to:

  • Review the main underlying causes of structural change in the national labor market—from automation to digitalization to global competition—and the nature of the policy responses to date in addressing these challenges.
  • Propose a tailored approach to helping policymakers and companies bring economic growth to their regions by applying data-driven network analytics to reveal industry and city growth patterns within the U.S.
  • Demonstrate how the network analytics approach can inform local economic development strategies that foster growth and good jobs through four city-specific case studies: Nashville, TN; St. Louis, MO; South Bend, IN; and Boise, ID.
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