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The Rise and Fall of Urban EconomiesLessons from San Francisco and Los Angeles$
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Michael Storper, Thomas Kemeny, Naji Makarem, and Taner Osman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780804789400

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804789400.001.0001

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Connecting the Dots

Connecting the Dots

What Caused Divergence?

(p.193) 9 Connecting the Dots
The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies

Michael Storper

Thomas Kemeny

Naji Philip Makarem

Taner Osman

Stanford University Press

The sources of economic divergence lie in their divergent levels and types of economic specialization. Specialization is caused by many forces, including lucky breakthroughs in technology, particular powerful individuals, decisions of key firms at critical turning points, and lock-in effects from initial advantages. Most of these forces cannot be predicted or created. But they must find fertile ground, and this ground is prepared by the ability of the regional economy’s firms, leaders, and workers to create and absorb the organizational change that is key to new, high-wage industries. Los Angeles and San Francisco are a striking contrast in these abilities, with Los Angeles’s firms and leaders persistently returning to Old Economy organizational forms and San Francisco’s firms and leaders consistently inventing the organizational forms of the New Economy that become models for the American and world economies as a whole.

Keywords:   organizational practices, industry-building entrepreneurship, skill transposition, biotechnology, Amgen, Genentech, relational networks, counterculture and cyberculture, economic conventions, regional zeitgeist

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