Why Is Pittsburgh's Economy Greater Than Cleveland's?

On the Sound of Ideas, we discuss why Pittsburgh has fared better economically over the past few decades than Cleveland. [ESB Professional / shutterstock]
On the Sound of Ideas, we discuss why Pittsburgh has fared better economically over the past few decades than Cleveland. [ESB Professional / shutterstock]
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We all know Cleveland and Pittsburgh have been sports rivals for generations, but while the Browns may have bested the Steelers in the last two matchups, and the baseball teams split their last two games last month, the Steel City has substantially bested our region over the past two decades  in another area -- the economy. 

Pittsburgh has even received a new moniker over the past few years, the Tech Mecca, with companies like Google, Uber and Facebook building hub operations there. The Burgh even has a section of the city where dozens of tech companies are concentrated, working on autonomous technologies, and robotics, and artifical intellegence, called "Robotics Row."

Cleveland meanwhile, has struggled economically since the 80s, unable to keep pace in job creation or economic growth compared with other big cities, despite being known as a regional "health hub" and while still trying to come back from our manufacturing losses of the past few decades. And, we shouldn't forget that Cleveland currently has the highest poverty rate among large cities in the country according the US Census bureau, narrowly overtaking Detroit last year.

But our discussion today centers on why have the two rustbelt cities that are only a little more than two hours apart by car, diverged so much in their economies? 

It's the topic of a debate that was published in the journal Economic Development Quarterly in June, and on the Sound of Ideas, we'll get into the different theories with researchers involved in the forum for most of this hour. 

And at the end of the hour, we'll meet one of the winners of this year's Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards.

 

Resources

Policy Versus Luck in Pittsburgh and Cleveland's Economies

Guests: 

-Ben Armstrong, Ph.D., Research Scientist, & Interim Executive Director, Industrial Performance Center, MIT
-Tim Bartik, Ph.D., Senior Economist, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research
-Ned Hill, Ph.D., Professor of Economic Development, John Glenn College of Public Affairs, The Ohio State University
-Sabina Deitrick, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Urban Planning & Co-Director, Urban and Regional Analysis Program, University Center for Social and Urban Research University of Pittsburgh 
-Christopher Briem, Regional Economist, University Center for Social and Urban Research, University of Pittsburgh

-Carrie Wise, Managing Producer, Arts & Culture, Ideastream Public Media
-Natasha Trethewey, Author, "Memorial Drive"
  

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