Recently, a study published for the state of Massachusetts identified six states as the Leading Technology States (LTS) in the nation. These states include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, and New York. To identify these states, researchers studied a wide variety of data in the areas of innovation, state resources, and results indicators.
The Missouri Economic Research & Information Center (MERIC) has mirrored this study for the state of Missouri, using many of the economic indicators identified in the Massachusetts study, in the Corporation for Enterprise Development’s (CFED) Development Report Card for the States 2001, and a few that are the unique contributions of MERIC. The purpose of this analysis is to present evidence that demonstrates Missouri’s technological capabilities compared to the typical state in the union, as well as to the six states identified as technology leaders by Massachusetts. These indicators have been grouped into four categories: High Technology Industries, Money, Speed, and People.
In general, the conclusion to be drawn from this effort is that Missouri lags far behind the six states identified as technology leaders. In fact, there is much cause for concern, for in approximately half of the indicators chosen for the study, Missouri lags behind not only the technology leaders, but the national average as well. Alarmingly, this is true for all but one indicator in the Hi-Tech Industry category, the category MERIC has identified as most important in determining technology leaders.
The figure on the following page presents a comparison of Missouri and the six LTS. Details about each specific indicator category can be found in the pages that follow. For each category, a state is given a score of 0 to 4, based on their performance. A state receives 1 star if it scores higher than at least 1 other LTS state, 2 stars if it scores higher than at least 3 other LTS states, and 3 stars if it scores higher than all other LTS states. Additionally, a state is given 1 star if it achieves a score higher than the US average for an individual indicator.
Connecticut received a score of 4 in eight categories, by far the most of all states in the study. Of these marks, four of the perfect scores occurred in the Hi-Tech category. By comparison, the Show-Me State received no marks of 4, and only three marks of 3 across all the categories. Further, Missouri outscored more than one other LTS state in only one aggregate category. Finally, and of great concern, Missouri received a combined score of 0.2 for the 10 Hi-Tech industry measures, indicating that the state is well below the national average in this area.
Report Card for Missouri and the Leading Technology States
Note: Categories were weighted according to their relative importance to technology. The Hi-Tech category was assigned a weight of 3; Money and Speed were weighted 2 each, and the People category was given a weight of 1.
Admittedly, the results of this study of Missouri’s technological capacity could be considered severe, for it is partial toward those states identified as technology leaders. It was not expected that Missouri would beat every LTS on every indicator. However, the expectation did exist that Missouri, at a minimum, could be considered competitive. Clearly, this is not this case.
Thus, policy makers and business leaders in Missouri must begin exploring ways to increase Missouri’s technological capacity, and with an acute sense of urgency. One of the greatest lessons of the 1990s is that technology is a driving force behind sparking and sustaining economic growth. For Missouri to become competitive with leading states and thereby improve its economic conditions, the state must begin to increase its technological capacity.