As a note, the order of these groups does not imply a difference across performance. Nor do groupings imply similar practices or policies enacted by states. Instead, the cluster analysis allows for states to have a more accurate picture of which other states rank similarly across a variety of TBED measures and over a period of time.
Schwarzkopf suggests there are two distinct advantages to knowing one’s peer states. First, it gives a state a better idea of who their peers are when they are evaluating their own progress on TBED measures. Second, it may provide clues about which state’s practices may be worth pursuing, adopting, or adapting.
There are several areas identified for supplementary research. First, more is needed to understand why non-geographically proximate states may cluster together. While it might make sense that New Hampshire and Vermont are peers, why is Minnesota also in that group? There is also an interest in what effect state initiatives have on TBED rankings, and whether some initiatives are more beneficial than others. Similarly, a better understanding of other TBED characteristics, like the number of universities or the presence of federal labs, would better inform these peer groups.
Using these same measures, a future study could look at peer groups across the subcategories within the TBED measures examined, such as higher education, R&D outputs, or workforce. This would give states an even better understanding of similar states, and perhaps provide more insight on particular strengths and weaknesses.
Schwarzkopf concludes by noting the reality that economic development progress is frequently framed through the lens of competition. However, he suggests, technology-based economic development should not be perceived as a zero-sum game of chasing the leader. Instead, states should focus on where they are making progress, and where their deficiencies still exist.
For details: https://ssti.org/blog/recent-research-identifying-peer-states-technology-based-economic-development?utm_source=SSTI+Weekly+Digest&utm_campaign=adb280837a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_01_31_04_21&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_ecf5992d4c-adb280837a-220101229