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ABSTRACT. Although the relationship between human capital and regional economic development has been well established, the factors influencing the geographical distribution of high-quality human capital are less clear. With many regions seeking to attract professionals who work in knowledge-based occupations (i.e. the “creative class”), economists have examined whether or not cities can emphasize certain local characteristics in order to successfully attract these individuals. This paper examines the factors the influence the location decisions of the creative class in both rural and urban areas in the state of South Carolina. We find that there may be key differences in the geographical characteristics that attract the creative class to metropolitan areas as opposed to those that attract them to more rural locations. These findings suggest that there is no uniform strategy for attracting human capital and that rural areas may need to customize the marketing of their strengths in order to attract individuals who work in knowledge-based occupations. pp. 32–43

Keywords: creative class; human capital; economic development; rural development; local amenities; South Carolina

Katie Maroney Lientz
Clemson University
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Lori A. Dickes
Clemson University
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Dave Lamie
Clemson University
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