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LETTER: IBJ falls for quality-of-life hype

March 25, 2017

Where do I find evidence to support the contention in the IBJ editorial from March 20 that “companies increasingly base decisions on where to invest and hire on quality-of-life issues”?

Not only does this idea rest on the amorphous “quality-of-life” concept, but it argues this factor is of increasing importance in our time. Is this contemporary gospel any more true today than 20 or 40 years ago? Many economic developers profess this faith, but cannot produce empirical work to support it. Fifteen years ago, Richard Florida invented the “creative class” and thereby revitalized the “amenities-orientation” popular in the ’60s. Now it seems again to dominate economic-development thought.

Long ago, I was told that after supply- and market-orientation, mother-in-law orientation (either away from or close to) was the most important factor in location decisions. There doesn’t seem to be any evidence in support of that idea either.

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Morton J. Marcus

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