Exploring Sources of Innovation in the Knowledge-Based Economy

The Case of Los Angeles

by Marlon Graf

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My dissertation uses a mix of both quantitative and qualitative methods to help policy makers identify sources of innovation in the knowledge-based economy and to best leverage these sources for regional economic growth. Specifically, I am evaluating two case studies in Los Angeles:

As part of my first case study, I develop a stakeholder map to inform USC's efforts to build a Biotech Science Park in South-East Los Angeles. As part of this undertaking, I conducted interviews and focus groups with USC faculty members and researchers, community residents, local small and large business owners, policy makers and academic experts in order to both assess entrepreneurial needs and community capacities.

For my second case study, I carry out an exploratory analysis of the Silicon Beach technology innovation movement in West Los Angeles. In order to do so, I constructed a geocoded venture capital database from Crunchbase.com, an open-source startup registry, and used correlational and time series analyses in order to detect predictors of firm success and patterns of locational decisions.

Following a thorough analysis of these two case studies, I conclude by recommending that policy makers in Los Angeles work to establish a framework to enhance connectivity and visibility of regional sources of innovation, including entrepreneurs, research institutions, business support entities and investors in order to nurture and cultivate a vibrant entrepreneurial network.

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This document was submitted as a dissertation in May 2016 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Rafiq Dossani (Chair), Trey Miller, and Martin Kenney.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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