California's Position in Technology and Science: A Comparative Benchmarking Assessment

Mar 01, 2004

Ross DeVol and Rob Koepp, with Junghoon Ki and Frank Fogelbach

This study is based on the Milken Institute 2004 State Technology and Science Index, which encapsulates each state's comprehensive inventory of technology and science assets that can be leveraged to promote economic development.

Taking that information, California's Position in Technology and Science: A Comparative Benchmarking Assessment offers a detailed look at California's position in today's knowledge-based economy.

(View national version of the Index.)

The study offer much good news for California - its numerous technology clusters, its strong venture-capital foundation and its excellent higher education system. But the study also contains a strong warning to policy leaders that others states are chipping away at its technology assets - and that steps must be taken to prevent further slippage.

"California must continue to increase funding of science and technology in its university systems or risk losing one of its most important historical comparative advantages," the study says. "Other states have made this a top budgetary priority."

The authors found several developments that should concern the state's policy makers, including:


  • California's ability to lure academic research and development dollars has declined.
  • Business starts per capita are down, dropping the state from 6th in 2002 to 13th in the 2004 index.
  • The percent of residents with a bachelor's degree or higher is dropping.

Part of the reason for these declines is that other states are working hard to build their own technology and science infrastructure, and luring the scientists and engineers needed to propel them. Educating, keeping and attracting these workers is one of the keys to future economic success, the authors say.

The index uses 75 indicators in five categories to measure how well a state will perform in today's knowledge-based economy. The five composite categories are:


  • Research and development inputs;
  • Risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure;
  • Human capital investment;
  • Technology and science workforce; and
  • Technology concentration and dynamism.

    Individual indicators include a wide range of measurements such as the percentage of a state's population with Ph.D.s, research and development expenditures per capita, and venture capital investment.

    "Places that can attract, grow and retain firms and industries proficient at deploying information technology, in addition to producing it, will be at a competitive advantage," the report says. "The degree to which a state's knowledge assets are harnessed and converted into successful innovations, products and services determine its economic future."

    How do the states fare? View 2004 ranking.

    View biggest movers, by region.

    In addition to the report, the Institute has put together rankings for all 50 states for all 75 measurements as a separate purchase for $195. If you would like to purchase these rankings, please contact us at 310-570-4600, or e-mail us at inquiries@milkeninstitute.org.

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