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The Winners and Losers of Economic Clustering

Creative jobs and industries help advance city economies—but they also bring with them serious economic divides.
relates to The Winners and Losers of Economic Clustering
Yulia Mayorova /

By now, we know that the clustering of companies and talent in urban areas drives innovation and economic growth. But it also generates distinct winners and losers both across and within cities and metros.

This is the upshot of my new study with my Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) colleagues Roger Martin, Melissa Pogue, and Charlotta Mellander, which was published as part of a special journal issue in honor of the 25th anniversary of Michael Porter’s landmark book, The Competitive Advantage of Nations. Porter is known for his research on the role of clusters of firms in economic development. Our study brings together Porter’s seminal work on industrial clusters with my research on the clustering of talent and occupations. While Porter’s work distinguishes between more locally-oriented and traded industries that export goods and services outside of their immediate geographic areas, my work distinguishes between creative, knowledge-based occupations in science, technology, design, and entertainment and routine occupations in manufacturing and services.