Monday, July 27, 2009

Is Oregon a Business Friendly State?

Yes, according to CNBC. Oregon comes in #18 in their rankling of states, and it would be higher if not for the terrible state of the state's economy and the horrendous state of the state education system. It is 20th in 'cost of doing business', 16th in 'access to capital' and 26th in 'business friendliness', 19th in 'technology and innovation' and 14th in 'transportation and infrastructure'.

What is troubling, however, is that the ranking of the state's education system has dropped from an already bad 29th in 2008 to 37th in 2009. And the fact that this is included in a "Top States for Business" ranking shows just how much education is important for business and the economy - not just for individuals.

Here is what CNBC has to say about education:
Education and business go hand in hand. Not only do companies want to draw from an educated pool of workers, they want to offer their employees a great place to raise a family. Higher education institutions offer companies a source to recruit new talent, as well as a partner in research and development. We looked at traditional measures of K-12 education including test scores, class size and spending.

And here are the education rankings. Hey, at least we are not Mississippi....yet.


ericfruits said...

The statistical abstract of the United States gives Oregon the following ranks:

% w/ high school diploma: 20 (88%)
% w/ bachelors degree: 19 (28%)
% w/ masters degree: 16 (10%)

We are well in the top half for two of those measures and the top third for the other.

The CNBC education rankings look only at test scores, class size, and spending. While test scores may be a useful measure, there are no reliable studies that link class size and spending to educational achievement.

nixzusehen said...

I think there's an interesting argument to made (and one that would be interesting to gather empirical data for) that Oregon, currently, doesn't need a good educational system (particularly higher ed), because we are still attracting immigrants. It's actual quite rational to let other states educate people, and then recruit them to move here.

Patrick Emerson said...

Both comments I think point to the same thing. I think the higher ranking of oregon on the educational attainment of the adult population is a testament to the fact that Oregon attracts educated people. Imagine how good we could be if we did a decent job educating our own.

It is true that we get a positive externality from this, just as we suffer from out-migrants whom we educate.

But I don't believe that this is sustainable. As the CNBC quote states not only do businesses want educated people to work for them, but they also want good education systems so that they can attract employees as well.

Doug Gabbard said...

Workforce mobility means that public education is a local cost that does not necessarily yield a local benefit. Might this be an argument to federalize funding of public education? Personally, I prefer to devolve education as much as possible, but it looks like a rational argument can be made.

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