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Indices Provide Insight into State Economies

November 16, 2001

Innovation indices or S&T report cards can be useful tools for assessing the health and direction of a region or state's economy. The results can be helpful for determining appropriate policies and programs to affect change and measuring progress. Evolving over the past five years, many states, localities and national organizations have prepared indices. Links to past Digest articles covering these reports are massed on the following web page: http://www.ssti.org/Digest/Indices/indices.htm

The latest releases for Massachusetts, one of the forerunners using the tool, and Southern California are described below. The Mississippi Technology Alliance's new efforts also are highlighted. 


If the Commonwealth's Innovation Economy is to remain a major force in driving economic growth in Massachusetts, policy makers must continue to focus on attracting research and development funds, encouraging entrepreneurs and invention, and promoting the expansion of a highly educated and skilled workforce, according to the 2001 Index of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy

The new report, released Monday by the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC), is the fifth annual yardstick of the state's nine critical industry clusters and of the status of innovation throughout the entire state economy. 

The Index tracks 30 indicators affecting the clusters — Computers & Communications Hardware, Defense, Diversified Industrial Support, Financial Services, Healthcare Technology, Innovation Services, Postsecondary Education, Software & Communications Services, and Textiles & Apparel — which provide about 25 percent of all the jobs in Massachusetts. 

Comparing Massachusetts with the nation and other leading technology states, such as California and New York, the indicators tell how well innovation resources are being turned into tangible results for people and businesses. Copies of the 2001 Index of the Massachusetts Innovation Economy, as well as the first four indices, are available at: http://www.mtpc.org 

Southern California 

Built on the inaugural edition in 2001, the Southern California Technology Innovation Index 2002 compares the region to other leading technology sectors in the U.S., including Austin, the Bay Area, Massachusetts and New York Metro. 

Data on each region is derived from statistical indicators in such areas as economic vitality, educational resources and investments, and the regions are measured in their population, number of tech firms and number of tech employees. 

Among its highlights, the 2002 Index features "Weakness in Education: A Digital Divide," a section examining the efforts of the education system to close the digital divide. 

The authors of the index conclude that while issues posed by numerous variables — newer facilities, more teachers, higher teacher salaries, more support for highly credentialed teachers to work in urban areas, and new textbooks and supplies — have been overshadowed by Digital Divide issues in recent years, "examining these issues and determining the education reforms most effective for the building of a future technology workforce could be the most important public policy project at hand for the regional technology industry." 

An executive summary of Southern California Technology Innovation Index 2002 is available from larta's website. The full report is available for purchase from the organization. 


The Mississippi Technology Alliance announced on Tuesday that the first-ever Mississippi Innovation Index will be published in 2002. 

The Index will be compiled annually to target technology-based economic development in Mississippi, using data from numerous state institutions and relating the data to that of other states. In 2002, the Index will center on priority indicators including Research Capacity, Technology Business Development, State/Federal Capacity Partnerships, Small Business Investment and Research, and Innovation and Commercialization. 

For more information on the Mississippi Innovation Index or the Mississippi Technology Alliance, visit: http://www.technologyalliance.ms/