Living in a Brain Hub

Posted on Sat 13 July 2019 in Analysis

From a terrific look about how Virginia Won Amazon’s HQ2

“Highly educated workers, Moretti concluded, have become the knowledge economy’s most precious resource. “In the twentieth century, competition was about accumulating physical capital,” he wrote. “Today it is about attracting the best human capital.” But these college and graduate-school degree holders are not dispersed evenly throughout the country. Instead, they’ve been clustering in a handful of already-thriving cities—places like San Francisco, Raleigh, Minneapolis, and Boston—which, as a result, have also become magnets for forward-looking employers.

The cost of doing business in these “brain hubs,” as the economist called them, is indeed higher, but the brain hubs also offer something companies can’t find anywhere else. By serving as ecosystems for talented employees to learn from one another, generate fresh ideas, and spark innovation, they can create productivity gains that more than offset the extra costs of doing business. At the same time, the development triggers a powerful feedback loop, with the bigger paychecks and more abundant employment opportunities driving prosperity throughout the region.”

The trade off between a top ten city (New York, Boston, etc) and a smaller environment has always fascinated me. There are notable benefits from leaving a a top city - cost of living decreases, less stress, and more greenery to name a few. My one worry would be the lack of job choices - if I’m working at the only company in a city where there’s a data scientist and I decide to leave, where do I go from there?