Next Article in Journal
Changes in Water Quality of the River das Antas as It Passes through Rural and Urban Areas
Previous Article in Journal
How Lack of Knowledge and Tools Hinders the Eco-Design of Buildings—A Systematic Review
Article

Innovations and Economic Output Scale with Social Interactions in the Workforce

1
School of Complex Adaptive Systems, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
2
School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 12 January 2021 / Revised: 1 February 2021 / Accepted: 4 February 2021 / Published: 10 February 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 fundamentally changed the way we interact with and engage in commerce. Social distancing and stay-at-home orders leave businesses and cities wondering how future economic activity moves forward. The reduction in face-to-face interactions creates an impetus to understand how social interactivity influences economic efficiency and rates of innovation. Here, we create a measure of the degree to which a workforce engages in social interactions, analyzing its relationships to economic innovation and efficiency. We do this by decomposing U.S. occupations into individual work activities, determining which of those activities are associated with face-to-face interactions. We then re-aggregate the labor forces of U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSA) into a metric of urban social interactiveness. Using a novel measure of urbanized area, we then calculate each MSA’s density of social work activities. We find that our metric of urban socialness is positively correlated with a city’s per worker patent production. Furthermore, we use our set of social work activities to reaggregate the workforces of U.S. industries into a metric of industry social interactivness, finding that this measure scales superlinearly with an industry’s per worker GDP. Together, the results suggest that social interaction among workers is an important driver of both a city’s rate of invention and an industry’s economic efficiency. Finally, we briefly highlight analogies between cities and stars and discuss their potential to guide further research, vis-à-vis the density of social interactions “igniting” a city or industry. View Full-Text
Keywords: innovation; sociality; economic impact; labor dynamics; urban density; COVID-19 innovation; sociality; economic impact; labor dynamics; urban density; COVID-19
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Painter, D.T.; Shutters, S.T.; Wentz, E. Innovations and Economic Output Scale with Social Interactions in the Workforce. Urban Sci. 2021, 5, 21. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci5010021

AMA Style

Painter DT, Shutters ST, Wentz E. Innovations and Economic Output Scale with Social Interactions in the Workforce. Urban Science. 2021; 5(1):21. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci5010021

Chicago/Turabian Style

Painter, Deryc T., Shade T. Shutters, and Elizabeth Wentz. 2021. "Innovations and Economic Output Scale with Social Interactions in the Workforce" Urban Science 5, no. 1: 21. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci5010021

Find Other Styles
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop