Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Frank Conte, Communications
releases Metro Area and State Competitiveness Report 2004
on their strengths in technology, security and human resources,
Massachusetts ranks number 1 in nation; Boston metropolitan
area ranks 4th in the nation
- Why are some U.S. states and cities persistently more affluent
than others? According to a new study from the Beacon Hill
Institute at Suffolk University in Boston, BHIs Metro
Area and State Competitiveness Report 2004, much of the answer
can be found by measuring competitiveness. The
state of Massachusetts and the Boston metropolitan area owe
their high standard of living largely to their competitiveness.
Authors Jonathan Haughton and Cagdas Sirin define competitiveness
as the policies and conditions that ensure and sustain
a higher level of per capita income and its continued growth.
The 2004 Report assigns more than three dozen variables to
eight categories government and fiscal policy, security,
infrastructure, human resources, technology, business incubation,
openness, and environmental policy and combined these
eight measures into a single competitiveness index.
real benefit of the study is that it sets the agenda; states
and metro areas can use the report to identify their weaknesses,
and so work out what they have to improve if they want to
become more competitive, said Jonathan Haughton. This
makes the study particularly useful to development professionals,
regional planners, chambers of commerce, civic leaders, and
states, Massachusetts gets the top ranking, after being runner-up
(to Delaware) in 2003 and 2004. This change partly reflects
improvements in the index, as better quality data have become
available. But it mainly reflects the Commonwealths
very real competitive advantages in technology, business incubation
and human resources. For now, these offset weaknesses in infrastructure
and in policies that make it expensive to hire low-skilled
on the heels of Massachusetts are Utah and Washington state.
Utah has broad strengths in technology, business formation,
human resources and infrastructure; Washington is known for
its technology and its openness to trade. The least competitive
states are West Virginia, Louisiana and Mississippi. Red and
blue states are equally likely to be competitive (or uncompetitive).
a score of 6.77 out of a possible 10, Boston is ranked fourth
in competitiveness among metropolitan areas, behind Seattle
(score of 7.80), Raleigh and Portland (OR), and just ahead
of Denver, Minneapolis and Austin. Boston heads the list on
technology, and is in the top five metropolitan areas for
security, human resources, and business incubation. These
advantages are significantly offset by poor scores on infrastructure
(ranked 45th out of 50) and government and fiscal policy (ranked
37th). The poor showing on infrastructure reflects long commuting
times, high electricity prices, and inflated housing costs
items that demand attention if the Boston area is to
remain competitive. A one-point rise in the index adds $877
to per capita income.
is the fourth year that BHI has published a Competitiveness
Report. This year BHI has developed an online forum to cultivate
discussion on the study http://cge.beaconhill.org/forum
version of this press release
01/18/2005 1:33 PM
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