Rochester could be location for national high-tech hub, economist argues

Apr 15, 2019
Originally published on April 15, 2019 9:58 am

An MIT economist says the U.S. should take a lesson from the post-World War II era and boost government spending on science and research.

Jon Gruber said those investments in the two decades after the war created the greatest middle class the world has ever seen.

"What history teaches us is that was driven by an incredibly fruitful partnership between the government and the private sector," he said. "Huge amounts what is our modern economy, ranging from satellites to digital computers to modern medicine, all came out of the funding of research and development in that era."

In his new book, "Jump-starting America: How Breakthrough Science can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream," Gruber ranked Rochester the number one city in the U.S. with the potential for a national technology hub. 

Gruber and his co-author weighed factors like crime rates, commute times, and the number of quality colleges and universities. He said Rochester has another big advantage, too.

"What it has that the coastal cities don't have is an affordable standard of living," he explained. "The average house price in Boston is $600,000 now. In Rochester, it's closer to $200,000."  

Gruber will be speaking at the University of Rochester's Rush Rhees Library on Wednesday, April 17, at 6:30 p.m. He'll also participate in a panel discussion about Rochester's economic potential.

To hear an interview with Gruber, click on the LISTEN link above.