In 1970, the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and San Francisco had almost identical levels of income per resident. In 2010, the San Francisco Bay Area was almost one-third richer than Los Angeles. The usual reasons for explaining such change – good or bad luck; different types of immigrants; tax rates, housing costs, and local economic policies; the pool of skilled labor – do not account for why they perform so differently. Instead, the divergence in economic development of major city regions is largely due to the different capacities for organizational change in their firms, networks of people, and networks of leaders. This lecture is based on an in-depth study which draws on economics, sociology, political science and geography to shed new light on the deep causes of economic development, and challenges many conventional notions about development in general and urban regions around the world.
Michael Storper is an economic geographer and Distinguished Professor of Regional and International Development at UCLA. He also serves as the Director of Global Public Affairs at the Luskin School of Public Affairs. He was formerly Academic Director of the Master of Public Affairs at Sciences Po in Paris. He holds an appointment as Professor of Economic Geography at the London School of Economics in every fall term.