Using higher education as an economic catalyst....
….probably won’t work. So argues University of Chicago professor Austan Goolsbee in the New York Times.
The idea of catalyzing the next Silicon Valley with big spending on a research university appeals to politicians — after all, it sounds so good, so clean, so progressive and there’s no downside for them if it fizzles. The trouble, Goolsbee says citing several research papers, is that the mobility of capital and labor is apt to undo the best laid plans.
Instead of going for the grand slam (either through university expansion or targeted business incentives), politicians would do the people much more good if they’d reduce the overall cost and intrusiveness of the government.
Doing that isn’t fun and doesn’t get you headlines, unfortunately.