Synopses & Reviews
From a rising young economist, an examination of innovation and success, and where to find them in America.
An unprecedented redistribution of jobs, population, and wealth is under way in America, and it is likely to accelerate in the years to come. America's new economic map shows growing differences, not just between people but especially between communities. In this important and persuasive book, U.C. Berkeley economist Enrico Moretti provides a fresh perspective on the tectonic shifts that are reshaping America's labor market — from globalization and income inequality to immigration and technological progress — and how these shifts are affecting our communities.
Drawing on a wealth of stimulating new studies, Moretti uncovers what smart policies may be appropriate to address the social challenges that are arising. Were used to thinking of the United States in dichotomous terms: red versus blue, black versus white, haves versus have-nots. But today there are three Americas. At one extreme are the brain hubs — cities like San Francisco, Boston, Austin, and Durham — with a well-educated labor force and a strong innovation sector. Their workers are among the most productive, creative, and best paid on the planet. At the other extreme are cities once dominated by traditional manufacturing, which are declining rapidly, losing jobs and residents. In the middle are a number of cities that could go either way. For the past thirty years, the three Americas have been growing apart at an accelerating rate. This divergence is one the most important recent developments in the United States and is causing growing geographic disparities is all other aspects of our lives, from health and longevity to family stability and political engagement.
But the winners and losers aren't necessarily who you'd expect. Moretti's groundbreaking research shows that you don't have to be a scientist or an engineer to thrive in one of these brain hubs. Among the beneficiaries are the workers who support the "idea-creators" — the carpenters, hair stylists, personal trainers, lawyers, doctors, teachers and the like. In fact, Moretti has shown that for every new innovation job in a city, five additional non-innovation jobs are created, and those workers earn higher salaries than their counterparts in other cities. It wasn't supposed to be this way. As the global economy shifted from manufacturing to innovation, geography was supposed to matter less. But the pundits were wrong. A new map is being drawn — the inevitable result of deep-seated but rarely discussed economic forces. These trends are reshaping the very fabric of our society. Dealing with this split — supporting growth in the hubs while arresting the decline elsewhere — will be the challenge of the century, and The New Geography of Jobs lights the way.
"Moretti has written the most important book of the year, I can't recommend it enough. The Cal-Berkeley economic professor's book is extremely necessary for politicians and commentators alike, book that artfully slays myriad myths that cloud the economic debate. Brilliant." Forbes
"Enrico Moretti's superb book highlights why the study of economic geography is vital for understanding fundamental issues such as the root causes of rising income inequality, innovation, and job growth. For those who are curious about how the United States will continue to thrive in the global 21st century economy, I can think of no better book to read than The New Geography of Jobs." Matthew E. Kahn, author of Climatopolis
"A fresh, provocative analysis of the debate on education and employment....A welcome contribution from a newcomer who provides both a different view and balance in addressing one of the country's more profound problems." Kirkus Reviews
"Wow....Without referring to Charles Murray, Moretti blows Coming Apart totally out of the water, replacing Murray's moralistic sociology with solid economics." Arnold Kling, EconLog
"[A] persuasive look at why some U.S. cities have prospered in recent decades while others have declined." James Pressley, Bloomberg-Businessweek
"The New Geography of Jobs explains the major shifts taking place in the United States' economy and reveals the surprising winners and losers — specifically, which jobs will drive economic growth and where they'll be located. Which communities will transform themselves into dynamic innovation hubs in 2012 and beyond? It can be done. Get educated, get a map and get going!" Troy Onink, Forbes
"In a new book, The New Geography of Jobs, University of California at Berkeley economics professor Enrico Moretti argues that for each job in the software, technology and life-sciences industries, five new jobs are indirectly created in the local economy. The jobs range from yoga instructors to restaurant owners. Mr. Moretti calculated such a multiplier effect by examining U.S. Census Bureau data from eight million workers in 320 areas during the past 30 years. By comparison, he found that just 1.6 local jobs were created for every new job in the manufacturing industry during the same period. Mr. Moretti says the data support the argument that technology innovators are one of the most important engines of job creation in the U.S. — with three of those five jobs going to people without college degrees." Jessica E. Vascellaro, Wall Street Journal
"What explains the wide range of economic growth and prosperity across U.S. regions, and why is it so hard for struggling metro areas to reverse multi-decade trends? These are the questions that urban economist Enrico Moretti addresses in The New Geography of Jobs. In his vision, innovative workers and companies create prosperity that flows broadly, but these gains are mostly metropolitan in scale, meaning that geography substantially determines economic vitality....Moretti has written a clear and insightful account of the economic forces that are shaping America and its regions, and he rightly celebrates human capital and innovation as the fundamental sources of economic development." Brookings Institution, Jonathan Rothwell
“Moretti has written a clear and insightful account of the economic forces that are shaping America and its regions, and he rightly celebrates human capital and innovation as the fundamental sources of economic development.” The New Republic
An economist at Berkeley looks at the major shifts taking place in the U.S. economy and reveals the surprising winners and losers — specifically, which kinds of jobs will drive economic growth and where they'll be located — while exploring how communities can transform themselves into dynamic innovation hubs.
About the Author
Enrico Moretti is a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley, whose research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Slate, among other publications.
Table of Contents
1. American Rust 19
2. Smart Labor: Microchips, Movies, and Multipliers 45
3. The Great Divergence 73
4. Forces of Attraction 121
5. The Inequality of Mobility and Cost of Living 154
6. Poverty Traps and Sexy Cities 178
7. The New “Human Capital Century” 215