Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Urban and Public Affairs

Committee Chair

Negrey, Cynthia, 1953-

Author's Keywords

Creativity; Economic development; Index rank; Index components


Creative ability--Economic aspects; Economic geography; Economic development


Richard Florida's (2002a and b) work ranks 276 U. S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) according to a creativity index. This dissertation explores whether the creativity index or its subcomponents are related to the economic strength or growth in MSAs. The dissertation initially explores the relationship between the creativity index or the proportion of the creative class in an MSA with measures of per capita income and mean earnings adjusted for cost-of-living and region. It further tests the relationship between the creativity index or the proportion of the creative class in an MSA and economic strength and growth where economic strength is operationalized using Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP) per capita for the year 2000 and economic growth is operationalized by the percent change in GMP from 2000 to 2004 and from 2000 to 2005. These economic measures are tested against the components of the creativity index for the year 2000 as defined in the softcover edition (Florida 2002b). In addition, this dissertation explores whether "creative" metropolitan areas are in fact "better" from a quality of life perspective, as a result of "creativity." I test the relationship between the proportion of the creative class in an MSA in 2000 and measures of poverty, homelessness, and crime in all the MSAs for which data are available. Using only the 49 largest MSAs, I conduct an exploratory factor analysis of the creativity components and several measures of culture and economic development context to determine if the three components of the creativity index – technology, talent and tolerance – emerge as reasonable dimensions. The gender wage gap is an element of culture. I test whether this wage gap is smaller in MSAs with high creativity indices than in MSAs with lower creativity indices. Using backward regression analysis I test for significant economic context variables against GMP percent change and then test whether the inclusion of the culturally related subcomponents of the creativity index in the independent variable set adds any explanatory power to the regression models. Finally, I present the results of qualitative research for four specific MSAs – Louisville, Nashville, Indianapolis and Raleigh-Durham. The results raise questions as to the whether the concentration of the creative class in an MSA acts as an economic engine, or as a positive influence, on quality of life. These conclusions are based on the analysis of correlations, various linear regression models, and qualitative analysis in selected MSAs and therefore do not constitute causal arguments.