Metro Policy

Hubs of Manufacturing: Let’s Get Started
August 21, 2012

Hubs and clusters, institutes and ecosystems: In recent years, we and others have talked a lot about the morphology of innovation systems, which are frequently anchored by major centers of research and comprised of related regional groups of entrepreneurs, orbiting firms, industry actors, and educational institutions. Strengthening that optimal structure was the idea behind our companion proposals for the creation of a network of regional energy discovery-innovation institutes and the establishment of a program to aid and abet nascent clusters with competitive grants.

Exports as Metropolitan Economic Development
August 14, 2012

Three years into the National Export Initiative, and just as Brookings is primed to further scale up its Metro Exports Initiative (MEI) to meet rising demand, there appears to be growing skepticism in some circles about the prospect of embracing and promoting exports in the face of a potential global economic slowdown. The media, regional leaders, and other interested parties--all are questioning whether the European debt crisis, a slowdown in China, and the overall weakness of the economic recovery make this a poor time to prioritize and pursue exports.  Does it make sense for U.S.

Regional Inequality and ‘The New Geography of Jobs’
August 07, 2012

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. To start, the book offers a hopeful interpretation of technological change and globalization.

What’s Next for Transportation in Atlanta
August 01, 2012

When it comes to transformative infrastructure, there’s no bigger tool for metro areas than local referendums. These regional votes give metropolitan areas an opportunity to sidestep the business-as-usual approach in Washington and initiate their own local vision--and to do so with resources typically counted in the billions. From major rail investments in Denver to a new central park in Oklahoma City, referendums are a vital way to reshape our metropolitan economies. And that’s exactly what makes yesterday’s vote in Atlanta so troubling for that region’s future.

Five Keys to the H-1B Debate
July 24, 2012

with Shyamali Choudhury and Katie Morris Last week’s research release event for “The Search for Skills: Demand for H-1B Immigrant Workers in U.S. Metropolitan Areas” was a spirited and intelligent debate about national policy combined with some thoughtful analysis by regional actors. The conversation highlighted differing opinions about the need for high-skilled foreign labor, important areas of agreement, as well as the need for further research. Based on this discussion, we’ve identified five keys for future productive, pragmatic debate on the H-1B program.

Climate Optimism—and Realism
July 23, 2012

The nation is headed for a large scale cleantech subsidy pull-back, so it was gratifying to see our work on that and energy innovation referenced in David Leonhardt’s surprisingly optimistic essay on climate change mitigation in yesterday’s New York Times. The piece provided a refreshing counterpoint to the gloom many in the climate community are feeling this summer given political gridlock, the summer’s insane weather, and the steady flow of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. According to Leonhardt, an investment-oriented, technology-driven push toward climate sanity is beginning to emerge a

Metro Areas Vary Amid Slowing Global Growth
July 18, 2012

Earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its growth forecast for the global economy for this year and next. It seems that both developed and developing countries are going to expand more slowly than expected earlier this year. In a pattern also seen in 2011, the United States is experiencing a loss of momentum and the Eurozone countries are still stuck in a sovereign debt quagmire.

What Would an Infrastructure Bank Really Do?
July 16, 2012

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office released an important analysis on the potential efficacy, need, and impact of a national infrastructure bank (NIB.) While the idea remains stuck in political and policy limbo, the report is still highly relevant. Interest in the idea remains high, helping to inform the policy innovation happening in states like New York and cities like Chicago. The CBO report is, as usual, careful and thorough. The analysts over there are super sharp and know what they're talking about especially--and obviously--when it comes to the impacts on the federal budget.

Does Transit Connect Employers to Labor?
July 11, 2012

As the nation continues its anemic economic recovery, media outlets and researchers have begun looking at the employer side of the jobs equation. Widespread reports have covered the inability of many firms to fill their open vacancies, with some suggesting a skills mismatch and others citing lagging demand. Other research assesses how falling recruitment intensity may explain the unfilled openings. But one missing explanation is the role of transportation in connecting jobs and people.

Better Living through Chemistry Majors
July 10, 2012

Are jobs requiring scientific knowledge scarce, relative to other fields?