The Rise of Skills: Human Capital, the Creative Class, and Regional Development

  • Charlotta Mellander
  • Richard Florida
Reference work entry


The past couple of decades have seen what amounts to an intellectual revolution in urban and regional economic research concerning the role of skills in economic growth. From industrial location theory and Alfred Marshall’s concern for agglomeration to more recent research on high-tech districts and industrial clusters, firms and industries have been traditionally the dominant unit of analysis. But since the 1990s, there has been a growing focus on skills. This broad research thrust includes studies of human capital; the creative class and occupational class more broadly; and physical, cognitive, and social skills, among others. This research highlights the growing geographic divergence of skills across cities and metros and their effects on regional innovation, wages, incomes, and development broadly. An expanding literature notes the growing importance of place in organizing and mobilizing these skills. Studies have focused on the role of amenities, universities, diversity, and other place-related factors in accounting for the growing divergence of skills across locations. This chapter summarizes the key lines of research that constitute the skills revolution in urban and regional research.


Human Capital Regional Development Knowledge Spillover Geographic Cluster Creative Industry 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jönköping International Business SchoolJönköpingSweden
  2. 2.Rotman School of ManagementUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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