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Regional Economies - 5/5/16

When people speak of economic growth in the U.S., they often refer to state level growth.  For instance, newspaper articles regularly feature the pace of job growth in Maryland or the state’s unemployment rate, presently below five percent. 

However, as pointed out by writer Parag Khanna, it may make more sense to conceive of America as being formed around a set of regional economies.  For instance, one could refer to the Northeastern megalopolis, which stretches from Boston to Washington, is home to more than fifty million people and represents twenty percent of America’s gross domestic product. 

According to Khanna, these regional economies matter far more than most U.S. states, with connectivity between urban clusters becoming increasingly more important in terms of determining how prosperous Americans will ultimately be. 

Rather than focus inwardly, state policymakers should be focusing beyond state boundaries suggests Khanna.  That means that rather than investing enormous sums to connect one local suburb to another, policymakers should be looking across state lines, perhaps investing in better connectivity between cities in different states like Baltimore and Philadelphia.    

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.