Kevin specializes in the economics of aging, labor and health economics, and statistical methods.
In this Issue Brief, ECONorthwest analyzes Boise's economic performance compared to its economic peers. First, ECONorthwest examines cities “nearby,” including: Seattle, Portland, Reno, Salt Lake, Provo, Billings and Spokane. Of course, this kind of analysis is a little suspect from the start—anyone who has visited both Boise and Seattle might dismiss the results outright because those cities are fundementally different.
So, next, ECONorthwest take a more calculated approach to examining Boise’s experience by looking at cities similar to Boise in terms of population size and “knowledge traits,” as identified by researchers at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Using this method, the authors identify four reasonable comparator cities: Chattanooga, TN; Des Moines, IA; Provo, UT; and Sarasota, FL.
ECONorthwest finds that Boise is more or less where you would expect it to be given its human capital; Boise is meeting expectations but not exceeding them. In comparison to its peers, Boise falls in the middle. Boise does not outperform economically like Sarasota but neither does Boise underperform like Provo.
As Boise emerges from the Great Recession and its policymakers and business leaders begin goal setting, it is important to understand that Boise has the potential to do better. The city can achieve higher incomes and, thus, have more resources for our families, our businesses, and our public sector.Download PDF