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The Research Triangle Park as a Regional Employer and Engine of Growth

by Christopher Bradford  DP_BradfordChristopher

The Research Triangle Park as a Regional Employer and Engine of Growth

Introduction

Since its establishment in 1959, the Research Triangle Park (RTP) has been a prominent fixture in the regional economy. North Carolina’s historical textile, tobacco and furniture industries experienced significant decline in the decades following the Second World War, and many jobs were lost in what is now the Research Triangle area (Link and Scott 2003). In the 1950s, several figures in state and local government, business and academia began to discuss development plans to increase employment and diversify the regional economy (Link 1995). The culmination of these efforts was the RTP, a complex that would focus on burgeoning high-technology industries. The RTP “began” in earnest in 1959, when the Research Triangle Institute and the Chemstrand Corporation located in the park (Link and Scott 2003).

Since then, the RTP has grown significantly. The RTP’s success can be measured by the total number of firms that occupy the park and by the total employment of these firms. Both of these metrics have generally increased throughout the past five decades. Today, the RTP houses 178 firms that cumulatively employ over 39,000 workers. Analysis of the composition of RTP firms reveals a trend whereby most recent entrants to the park are smaller firms with relatively few employees. The RTP’s success as a regional employer and engine of economic growth is also suggested by secondary metrics such as the growing average income in the area since the park’s creation.

The RTP’s substantial growth over its five-decade existence can be examined by considering the park as an agglomeration economy. The park has grown by attracting firms that specialize in high-technology fields. As the number of firms specializing in similar fields has grown, so have the agglomeration advantages of the RTP. Yet despite the RTP’s past successes as a regional employer and engine of economic growth, questions exist about the sustainability of its suburban industrial cluster model moving forward.

 

Literature Survey

The RTP can be viewed as an agglomeration economy that specializes in high-technology industries, particularly in the life sciences and information technology (see Figure 6). Alfred Marshall (1890) claimed that economic clustering provides benefits in terms of labor pooling, information flow and access to specialized inputs. Saxenian (1994) proposes that agglomeration economies are particularly important for high-technology industries. Through physical proximity, scientists, engineers and managers can develop localized networks for efficient information sharing and innovation. Jenkins et al (2008) argue that the agglomeration effects of research parks are significant and are responsible for increasing the proportional growth of jobs in high-technology industries.

One of the RTP’s prominent agglomerative features is the high level of educational attainment of the park’s employees and of the residents of the Triangle region more broadly. Forty-six percent of the workforce in the 13-county Triangle area held college degrees in 2011, well above the national and state averages of 36% and 26.5%, respectively (US Census Bureau 2013). Moretti (2003) finds that for each one-percentage increase in the share of college degree holders in a MSA, the average wage for all workers rises by between 0.6 and 1.2%.

Glaeser and Saiz (2003) find evidence that highly skilled cities, where a high percentage of workers have college or advanced degrees, are becoming more productive and growing faster than less-skilled cities. The authors cite the importance of human capital in allowing cities to “reinvent” themselves and adapt to economic change. The Triangle region illustrates aspects of such a “reinvention city,” having transformed itself in a half-century from an economy predicated on cigarette, textile and furniture manufacturing to a highly educated technological hub. Goldstein (2005) argues that it has been the development of the Triangle region’s knowledge infrastructure that has transformed the area in recent decades. He reasons that the success of the RTP owes much to the three prominent research universities in the area – Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill and NC State University. RTP firms and these universities have mutually benefitted from one another’s presence, with firms gaining research experience and universities learning how to better commercialize their own research.

Kodrzycki and Muñoz (2009) find that leadership and long-term collaboration between the public and private sectors are essential for the economic revitalization of post-industrial areas such as the Triangle region. Several studies (Link 1995 and 2003, Rohe 2011) emphasize the creative leadership and close cooperation between private industry, the Triangle’s three leading universities and local and state government that has allowed the RTP to thrive. Sternberg et al (2010) describe the RTP as a cluster driven by the private sector but dependent upon cooperation with state government and several regional nonprofit organizations, such as the Research Triangle Foundation (RTF) and Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP). Goldstein (2005) emphasizes the importance of public sector investments for attracting firms to the RTP, citing in particular the expansion of the Raleigh-Durham International Airport and Interstate 40.

However, there is much literature that questions the efficacy of industrial clustering in today’s rapidly changing economic climate. Ioannides et al (2008) predict that increasingly cheap and efficient information sharing, particularly due to the Internet, will lead to more spatially diffuse economic activity. The authors also predict that larger cities will experience more rapid economic and population growth than smaller cities, as larger cities typically have more robust consumer amenities and are thus more attractive to young professionals. These predictions imply that isolated suburban clusters such as the RTP may be outmoded economic engines in the future.

Moreover, in a comparison of numerous counties similar in terms of population and high-technology employment, Wallsten (2004) finds that research parks typically exert no positive effect on regional economic development. Analyzing high-technology clusters in Texas, De Silva and McComb (2011) find that positive locational effects exist for firms in the same industry located between one and 25 miles apart. Locating within one mile of a same-industry firm, on the other hand, correlates with increased firm mortality.

In contrast to these skeptical prognoses on the merits of high-technology clustering, Weddle et al (2006) contend that the RTP has exerted substantial economic spillover effects beyond the park’s boundaries. The percentage of firms engaged in “new-line” industries, including chemicals, electronics, communications, business services and engineering, rose from 15% at the time of the RTP’s founding to 51% in 2001. The authors attribute growth in these sectors to the presence of RTP firms engaged in new-line industries. In sum, vastly different opinions exist in the literature on the efficacy of industrial clustering.

 

Description of Data

The economic growth of the RTP can be viewed in terms of the number of firms that have located in the park over time. As shown in Figure 1, the number of RTP tenants has steadily increased by the decade. As of January 2013, 178 firms are located in the RTP, up from 21 at the end of the 1960s. The number of firms nearly doubled, from 21 to 38, in the 1970s. The park experienced its most significant numerical increase in tenants between 2000 and 2007, adding 45 firms in this period.

Figure 2 shows patterns of RTP firm entry over time according to current number of employees. Data were available for 168 of the 178 firms currently located in the RTP. Of these 168 firms, 120, or over 70%, have fewer than 50 employees. The vast majority of firms that employ fewer than 50 entered the RTP recently: over 88% of these firms have entered since 2000, with 35% having entered since 2010. Firms with small workforces display the most temporally skewed entry pattern. Of the 16 firms employing between 50 and 99 workers, half entered the RTP before 1990. Of the ten firms employing between 100 and 249, four entered before 1990. Seven of the 12 firms with 250-999 employees entered before 1990. Half of the ten largest firms with over 1000 employees entered before 1990. While they represent a far smaller sample size, larger employers have entered the park with a far more even temporal distribution than firms with employment below 50.

Historically, as the number of firms housed in the park has grown, so has the park’s total employment. Today, the RTP’s cumulative full-time employment stands at around 39,000 (RTF). As shown in Figure 4, total RTP employment increased annually with only one exception in the years from 1960 to 2000. Total employment has grown with something of a bi-sigmoidal distribution, with rapid increases in the mid-1960s and again in the early to mid-1980s. The significant employment increase from 1965 to 1966 is due to the entry of IBM and what is now the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), both of which were and remain very large employers (Link and Scott 1995). The 1980s oversaw a tripling in employment in the park, from just over 10,000 at the beginning of the decade to well over 30,000 by the end. However, beginning in the early 2000s, total employment declined from a peak of over 43,000 employees to around 37,000. In this period, the RTP and the surrounding region experienced an acute decline in the telecommunications industry. Nortel Networks in particular was responsible for a large number of lost jobs in the RTP. The firm had over 8,500 RTP employees in the late 1990s, but cut RTP employment to 1,850 by 2009, when Ericsson acquired the struggling company (Rohe 2011).

In the formative years of the RTP, developers pursued a recruitment strategy aimed at large corporations (Rohe 2011). The entry of IBM, NIEHS, Glaxo (later GlaxoSmithKline) and the EPA were major boons for the RTP in its early years. Large firms still feature prominently in the RTP. Currently, IBM and GlaxoSmithKline employ some 10,000 and 4,500 workers respectively (Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce). However, a large and increasing number of current RTP tenants are smaller employers. As shown in Figure 5, 43% of RTP firms in 2013 have fewer than 10 employees. Sixty-two percent of firms employ fewer than 25, and 71% employ fewer than 50 workers. Figure 6 illustrates the industries in which current RTP firms specialize. Biotechnology/life sciences dominate, with 45% of firms involved in these fields. A further 18% of RTP firms are engaged in information and communication technology. The RTP has attracted firms in these industries throughout its existence. Of the 24 current tenants that entered the park by 1979, 10 specialized in biotechnology/ life sciences or information and communication technology.

Data on the Triangle region indicate a correlation between the park’s growth and regional economic success. Since the establishment of the RTP, income in the area has grown considerably compared to state and national averages. In 1969, when the RTP housed 21 firms, average per capita income was 86% and 89% of the national average in the Durham-Chapel Hill and Raleigh-Cary MSAs, respectively (Figure 8). Relative per capita income peaked for the Durham-Chapel Hill MSA in 1993, at 105% of the national average, and for the Raleigh-Cary MSA in 2000, at 115%. In 2007, these figures were 104% and 102%, respectively. Though a crude metric that fails to discern between employees of different firms, the average salary for an employee of an RTP company was $56,000 in 2004. This figure is 45% above the national average and roughly 30% higher than the average income for both the Durham-Chapel Hill and Raleigh-Cary MSAs (Weddle et al 2006).

 

Analysis

The increase in the number of firms occupying the RTP over time is a testament to the agglomeration effects from which the park benefits. As the number of tenant firms specializing in a certain field has grown, the RTP’s agglomeration effects have in turn increased. Agglomeration effects are especially pronounced for RTP firms specializing in biotechnology/life sciences, with around 80 firms operating in this sector today. The RTP benefits significantly from the abundance of well-educated professionals in the regional labor pool. Highly educated workers are essential to the RTP: in 2006, five percent of the RTP’s employees held a PhD (Weddle 2006). In 1998, one-quarter of new professional employees hired by RTP firms held degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill, Duke or NC State University (Link 2002). According to Rohe (2011), these universities have cooperated increasingly with RTP firms to commercialize research since the 1980 Bayh-Dole Act.

Data show a pattern whereby smaller firms that employ relatively few workers have tended to enter the park more recently. Additionally, there appears to have been a great deal of firm turnover in the RTP in recent years. While direct data on firm exits from the RTP was not available, secondary analysis of firm entry indicates significant turnover. Though entry data for 10 firms are missing, of the 21 firms housed in the RTP by 1969, only 7 are currently listed as tenants. Of the 38 tenants housed by 1979, 22 remain. Thirty-six of the 70 firms housed in the park in 1989 remain. Sixty of the 112 firms housed in 1999 remain, as do 122 of the 157 firms located in the park by 2009.   Currently, the RTP houses 178 firms, up from 157 in 2007. However, 63 firms entered the park between 2008 and 2013. Again, the implication is that numerous firms must have left the RTP over this period. It is likely that many of these exiting firms were start-ups nurtured in the RTP that then left the park. Indeed, according to the RTF, the five incubators and business accelerators in the RTP have helped establish over 250 start-up and spin-off firms over the years. Goldstein (2005) notes that the RTP has had considerable success in creating spin-off firms in the past two decades, but has failed to catalyze the growth of larger high-technology facilities beyond the park’s boundaries.

It appears that the trend whereby smaller firms comprise a higher percentage of the RTP’s total tenants reflects a desire on behalf of planners to attract start-ups. On its website, the RTF prominently advertises the park’s five incubators and business accelerators, which currently nurture “nearly 80 start-up and early state companies.” The RTF states that flexible, cost-efficient leases are available for start-ups, and specifically for start-ups that have emerged from university research. This strategic emphasis on attracting smaller firms may be partly due to the fact that only 700 acres are free for development in the park (RTF). Nonetheless, in the RTF’s 2012 “Master Plan” for future development of the park, leaders called for a continued effort to maintain existing large firms in the RTP as well as to attract new large firms. The plan proposes that the park further diversify its tenants by industry and size to ensure the RTP’s continued success.

The campaign to attract start-ups also likely recognizes increased competition for attracting large firms, as well as changes in overall corporate strategies for research and development. Depillis (2012) argues that many large companies are reluctant to make the costly long-term investments in permanent infrastructure that they did in the RTP’s infancy. Instead, firms increasingly prefer to lease space for projects on an ad hoc basis. Depillis also suggests that the RTP’s isolated, sprawling complexes are unappealing to many young professionals. To address changes in employee preferences, the RTF has called for a renovation of the park that will implement residential and commercial spaces (Rohe 2011). However, in addition to requiring substantial changes in zoning laws, this plan has met with doubts that employees, especially young professionals, want to live and work in a suburban business campus.

The growth of the RTP in terms of the park’s number of tenants and employees over the years has indeed coincided with economic growth in the Triangle region (Figures 7 and 8). Average wages have risen, unemployment has remained below national and state averages and population has increased (Rohe 2011). Weddle et al (2006) argue that the growth of the RTP has exerted spillover effects that have spurred the growth of new-line industries in the counties surrounding the park. Total employment in the seven counties closest to the park increased by nearly 700,000 between 1970 and 2006. These gains were most pronounced in the core counties of Wake, Orange, and Durham, all of which experienced employment increases of well over 200% in this period (Rohe 2011). Hence, regional employment growth in the past several decades has correlated with greater proximity to the RTP. Weddle et al (2006) also note that the RTP contributes to the regional economy directly in terms of construction employment and real estate, income and sales tax yields. However, while it is notable that the successes of the RTP have correlated with regional economic growth, it is difficult to establish a causal relationship between the former and the latter.

Though the RTP has certainly exerted positive economic effects on the surrounding area, it is unreasonable to conclude that the park is single-handedly responsible for regional economic growth. In the 13-county Triangle area, population increased by 29.2% from 2001-2011, compared to the national average of 9.3% (NCOSMB, US Census Bureau). However, during this period, the RTP shed several thousand jobs. Total park employment began to rebound in 2005 and has continued to grow since, but today’s employment figures are still below the peak of the early 2000s. The rapid population growth in the area despite the park’s decreasing employment in the past decade suggests that other features of the regional economy must have appealed to immigrants. Healthcare and education are two candidates: the two sectors have been the region’s fastest-growing industries over the past two decades (NC Dept. of Commerce).

Additionally, the growth of the RTP has certainly not proven to be a panacea for issues of poverty and income inequality that plague parts of the Triangle. In 2009, nearly 19% of Durham city residents lived in poverty, with poverty rates at 25.7% for black and 36.3% for Hispanic residents. In addition, the median household income for white families, over $61,000, was far higher than the figures for black ($33,000) and Hispanic ($38,000) families (City Data). These economic malaises of the Triangle area require solutions that the RTP has proven unable to provide.

 

Conclusions

Data have illustrated that in terms of the total number of firms and total employment, the RTP has grown substantially over the past five decades. The park’s 178 firms currently employ around 39,000 full-time workers. The RTP has illustrated a trend in recent decades toward housing an increasing number of smaller, lower-employing firms. As of January 2013, 71% of the RTP’s 178 firms employ fewer than 50 workers, with 43% of its firms employing fewer than 10 (Figure 5). The park appears to be successful in attracting new firms, having added 106 new firms since 2000 and 46 since 2010 (Figures 2,3). Substantial regional economic growth has occurred since the park’s founding, as evidenced by the growth of regional income compared to the national average (Figures 7,8).

Yet the RTP faces numerous challenges in retaining its competitive advantage in high-technology employment in the years to come. With less than one-tenth of its total area available for development, the RTP faces spatial constraints that limit its ability to attract the large firms that drove the park’s early growth. Competition for attracting new firms has increased greatly with the proliferation of research parks and development initiatives both domestically and internationally. Moreover, the RTP faces a decline in several of its prominent industries. From 1999 to 2003, the park experienced a 30% decline in employment in the manufacturing of high-technology equipment (Rohe 2011). Additionally, the information technology sector, long a large employer in the RTP, has suffered over the past two decades. The park has lost thousands of jobs in this sector since the late 1990s, as evidenced by the decline of Nortel Networks.

The data indicate that the RTP has been fairly successful in attracting new firms with small staffs. However, the turnover rate has been high for these firms. One possible implication of this is that once start-ups mature sufficiently, they find the environment of the RTP undesirable or unfavorable to their sustained growth. The isolated nature of the RTP complex itself might contribute to this pattern. A 1988 survey of RTP firms found that 47% of these companies would not have located in the Triangle area if the RTP had not existed (Rohe 2011). It would be instructive to conduct a contemporary equivalent of this survey to observe whether the features of the park still proved as attractive to firms, or whether firms desired new amenities not offered by the RTP.

Moving forward, it remains to be seen whether the efforts to modernize the RTP as a mixed-use complex featuring residential and commercial space are successful in attracting new firms and workers to the park. More fundamentally, further research is needed to determine the role of traditional suburban research parks in housing start-ups and small firms specializing in high-technology fields. The RTP contributed hugely to modernizing the regional economy in the latter half of the 20th century following the decline of traditional manufacturing in the area. Today, the park’s leaders must demonstrate a similar ability to adapt to new trends in employment in order to preserve the RTP’s status as a successful regional employer and engine of economic growth.

 

 

 

 

Appendix

Figure 1

DP_Bradford-1

Data from: Rohe 2011.

Figure 2

DP_Bradford-2

Data from: “2013 Company Directory.” Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. 2013.

Figure 3: Data on Firm Entry

Date of Entry for All Current Firms (data available for 168 of 178 current tenants)
Year Number of Firms % all Firms
1959-1969

7

4.2

1970-1979

15

8.9

1980-1989

14

8.3

1990-1999

24

14.3

2000-2009

62

36.9

2010-2013

46

27.4

168 total 100% total
 

 

   

 

Under 50 Employees Number Firms % Firms this size
1959-1969

3

2.5

1970-1979

5

4.2

1980-1989

4

3.3

1990-1999

14

11.7

2000-2009

52

43.3

2010-2013

42

35

120 total 100% total

 

50-99 Employees Number Firms % Firms this size
1959-1969

1

6.25

1970-1979

4

25

1980-1989

3

18.75

1990-1999

1

6.25

2000-2009

4

25

2010-2013

3

18.75

16 total 100% total

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100-249 Employees Number Firms % Firms this size
1959-1969

0

0

1970-1979

2

20

1980-1989

2

20

1990-1999

4

40

2000-2009

2

20

2010-2013

0

0

10 total 100% total

 

250-999 Employees Number Firms % Firms this size
1959-1969

0

0

1970-1979

2

16.7

1980-1989

5

41.7

1990-1999

3

25

2000-2009

1

8.3

2010-2013

1

8.3

12 total 100% total
     

 

 

1000+ Employees Number Firms % Firms this size
1959-1969

3

30

1970-1979

2

20

1980-1989

0

0

1990-1999

2

20

2000-2009

3

30

2010-2013

0

0

10 total 100% total

 

Data from: “2013 Company Directory.” Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 4: Total Employment of RTP Firms

 

Source: The Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 5

 

Data from: Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. 2013.

Figure 6

 

Data from: Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. 2013.

Figure 7

 

Data from: Economagic.com. 2013.

Figure 8

 

Data from: Economagic.com. 2013.

References

“2013 Company Directory.” The Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina (RTF). January 2013.

 

De Silva, Dakshina G. and Robert P. McComb. “Geographic concentration and firm survival.” Munich Personal RePEc Archive. Paper No. 32906. 2011.

 

Depillis, Lydia. “Dinosaur Makeover: Can Research Triangle Park Pull Itself Out of the 1950s?” The Atlantic. 12 Oct 2012.

 

“Durham, North Carolina.” City Data. 2013. http://www.city-data.com/city/Durham-North-Carolina.html.

 

Glaeser, Edward L and Albert Saiz. “The Rise of the Skilled City”. Harvard Institute of Economic Research. Discussion Paper No. 2025. 2003.

 

Goldstein, Harvey. “The Role of Knowledge Infrastructure in Regional Economic Development: The Case of the Research Triangle.” Canadian Journal of Regional Science. Vol. 28, No. 2, Pp. 199-220. 2005.

 

Ioannides, Yannis Melelaos, Henry G. Overman, Esteban Rossi-Hansberg and Kurt Schmidheiny. “The Effect of information and communication technologies on urban structure.” Economic Policy. Vol. 54, Pp. 201-242. 2008.

 

Jenkins, Craig J, Kevin T Leicht and Arthur Jaynes. “Creating High-Technology Growth: High-Tech Employment in U.S. Metropolitan Areas, 1988-1998”. Social Science Quarterly. Vol. 89, No. 2, Pp. 456-481. 2008.

 

Kodrzycki, Yolanda K and Ana Patricia Muñoz. “Reinvigorating Springfield’s Economy: Lessons from Resurgent Cities”. Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Community Affairs Discussion Paper No. 09-7. 2009.

 

“Large Employers/Manufacturers.” The Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce. 2013. http://durhamchamber.org/.

 

Link, Albert N. From Seed to Harvest: The Growth of Research Triangle Park. The Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina. 2002.

 

Link, Albert N and John T Scott. “The Growth of Research Triangle Park”. Small Business Economics. Vol. 20, Pp. 167-175. 2003.

 

Marshall, Alfred. Principles of Economics. London, MacMillan & Co. 1890.

 

“Metropolitan Statistical Area Data.” Economagic.com: Economic Time Series Page. 2013.

 

Moretti, Enrico. “Estimating the social return to higher education: evidence from longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional data.” Journal of Economics. Vol. 121. Pp. 175-212. 2004.

 

North Carolina Department of Commerce Division of Employment Security. 2013. https://www.ncesc.com/default.aspx.

 

North Carolina Office of State Budget and Management (NCOSBM). 2013. http://www.osbm.state.nc.us/.

 

“The Research Triangle Park.” Research Triangle Foundation of North Carolina (RTF). 2013. www.rtp.org.

 

“The Research Triangle Park (RTP).” Research Triangle Regional Partnership (RTRP). 2013. http://www.researchtriangle.org/.

 

Rohe, William M. The Research Triangle: From Tobacco Road to Global Prominence. Philadelphia. University of Pennsylvania Press. 2011.

 

“State and County Quick Facts: Durham, North Carolina.” United States Census Bureau. 2013.

 

Sternberg, Rolf, Matthias Kiese and Dennis Stockinger. “Cluster policies in the US and Germany: varieties of capitalism perspective on two high-tech states”. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy. Vol. 28, Pp. 1063-1082. 2010.

 

Wallsten, Scott. “Do Science Parks Generate Regional Economic Growth? An Empirical Analysis of their Effects on Job Growth and Venture Capital.” AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies. 2004.

 

Weddle, Rick L., Elizabeth Rooks and Tina Valdecanas. “Research Triangle Park: Evolution and Renaissance.” Research Triangle Foundation: IASP World Conference Paper. 2006.


2 Comments

  1. Chris,

    Your analysis is intriguing: even after living here for a decade, I did not realize that the RTP serves as such a clear example of an agglomeration economy. Given RTP’s growth over the decades, it seems like it would send a clear message regarding large-scale public investments to trigger and foster such agglomeration effects.

    Given that these investments likely have a very high initial cost (for example, from tax breaks and subsidies to attract employers), I can see why the RTP’s blueprint had such a mixed reception at first. In retrospect, it is easy to say that the Triangle’s inhabitants today are pleased with the RTP’s existence and success. However, how many of its current inhabitants were there when the RTP was formed? My family, for one, moved here to follow a job opening at Cisco Systems. Going to middle and high school in Wake County, I remember noting how only a minority of my classmates were born in the area, and how even fewer of their parents were also from around here.

    Since you acknowledge that such a hindsight view of the RTP’s growth would not be a fair assessment of its contribution to the Triangle’s initial population (i.e. those who were here before the project started), an interesting next step would be to analyze the RTP’s benefit to that initial pool. First, how much of the employment growth was sourced internally, instead of through new hires immigrating into the area? Second, while the immigrating hires were not here initially, how much of a “multiplier effect” did they bring to the community? Perhaps a difference-in-differences analysis could find the causal increase in employment in the region. Subtracting the increase in RTP’s employment would give the increase in employment caused by, but outside of, the RTP itself (which at least would give a qualitative view of the multiplier effect).

    Your story of the RTP’s growth and success is inspiring. If I were a state legislator, demonstrating causal benefit to the initially-present population would make me even more comfortable with moving to mimic the park’s success.

  2. Christopher

    Your Durham paper on the idea that RTP is an engine of economic growth is thoroughly intriguing and extremely relevant. Your knowledgeable analysis and description of RTP as an agglomeration economy comprised of primarily high-tech startups is very accurate and spot on. Your flow of ideas is logical and the transitions between each paragraph/section are smooth and seamless. The literature review is particularly interesting (especially because I am very personally interested in RTP and have conducted a lot of personal research regarding this subject), and your discussion of themes including education, leadership, and collaboration are all highly relevant to the booming private sector and economic revitalization of the region. Like the rest of the paper, your data and statistical analysis of the trends in RTP’s employment figures is clear and organized. The one major suggestion I have for your paper is to perhaps weave your graphs and models throughout the paper whenever you reference them (rather than clump them all in the appendix of the paper). This style of organization will greatly enhance the readability of your work, and make it much easier for the reader to follow your thoughts without having to scroll to the bottom of the page in order to refer to the models. Overall, your paper was very interesting and makes a compelling point. Good job!

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