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This report shows how three metropolitan areas—Portland (OR), Kansas City, and Boise—became centers of high technology industry without the presence of a major university. For each metropolitan area it describes the history of high-tech development, current status of high-tech industry clusters, and the roles that public policy and higher education played in spurring the growth of high-tech industry. In the three metropolitan areas high-tech industry is very specialized, anchor firms and new business startups helped it develop, high-tech industry predated supportive public policies, and local universities that were not major research institutions helped support high-tech growth after high-tech industry was already established. The evidence on high-tech development in the three metropolitan areas offers important information for policymakers and practitioners interested in technology-based economic development outside of large, well-established high tech centers.

Bootstrapping High-Tech: Evidence from Three Emerging High Technology Metropolitan Areas - Brookings Institution