Class and Innovation

Yesterday, we looked at the effects of class on economic growth. Today, we turn to the relationship between class and innovation.

It's a well-established truism that innovation drives economic growth and development. Nations and regions around the world go to great measures to stimulate innovation in their attempts to create the "next Silicon Valley" which will generate new technologies, improve economic growth, and lift their living standards.

To examine the relationship between class and innovation, Charlotta Mellander used data on patents by country available from the World Intellectual Property Organization. Despite some limitations, patents are the best-available measure of innovation.

The relationships between class and innovation are, if anything, even stronger than between class and economic activity.

The first graph shows the close relationship between innovation and the creative class. The larger the percentage of the creative class in a country, the higher its level of innovation.

The working class and innovation - not so much. Countries with a large working class have much lower levels of innovation.

Source of all graphics: Martin Prosperity Institute

Presented by

Richard Florida is Co-founder and Editor at Large of CityLab.com and Senior Editor at The Atlantic. He is director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto and Global Research Professor at NYU. More

Florida is author of The Rise of the Creative Class, Who's Your City?, and The Great Reset. He's also the founder of the Creative Class Group, and a list of his current clients can be found here.

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