Will attracting the "creative class" boost economic growth in old industrial regions? A case study of Scotland

Donald Houston, Allan Findlay, Richard Harrison, Colin Mason

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    86 Citations (Scopus)


    Attracting in-migration of the creative class has been argued by Florida (2002) to be a route to higher economic growth in the era of the knowledge economy. This paper critically evaluates this proposition in relation to old industrial regions using the example of Scotland. The paper presents an assessment of, in the first instance, to what extent there is a shortage of skilled, talented and entrepreneurial individuals and, in the second instance, whether a talent attraction strategy alone can hope to attract such people to Scotland. It is proposed that for most migrants the availability of appropriate economic opportunities is a prerequisite for mobility. However, despite uncertain evidence that place attractiveness is a catalyst to mobility among the so-called creative class, this is not a reason for dismissing talent attraction programmes. Instead it is argued that talent attraction programmes have the potential to contribute to old industrial economies, but their success will be greatest when talent attraction is carefully targeted and based on economic realities rather than the marketing of ethereal conceptions of place attractiveness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)133-149
    Number of pages17
    JournalGeografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • Creative class
    • Economic growth
    • Migration
    • Old industrial regions
    • Talent attraction


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