A Regional Economic Assessment

This study finds that the Bay Area enjoys unique economic assets that have enabled it to prosper across economic cycles. It finds that a strategic focus on the sectors where it is most competitive and which have defined its global leadership offers the best opportunity to generate future jobs and growth. It also finds growing economic inequality, and a risk that significant parts of the population won’t share in the region’s general economic success. The question that presents itself is, despite the region’s present economic strength, could its economy be even stronger and could it be generating more jobs for more of its residents if a number of impediments could be overcome? This raises issues such as housing cost and availability, congestion, regulatory efficiency, and a lack of strategic focus on regional economic priorities. These concerns point to the need for both a more effective partnership between business and government on economic issues and a stronger sense of shared purpose surrounding growth and development. The study concludes by making suggestions for meeting these needs. More immediately, however, it is designed to provide a shared foundation of facts and analysis on which both government and business can build a closer strategic partnership.

Report Links
—October 2012: Full Report (PDF: 76 pages, 2 MB)
—December 2012: Appendices (PDF: 96 pages, 3.5 MB)


This report was prepared at the request of the Joint Policy Committee of regional government agencies and leaders in the Bay Area’s business community. Dr. Jon Haveman, Chief Economist of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, developed the analysis with support from the Economic Institute’s Research Associate, Patrick Kallerman, and Issi Romem, a consultant to the Institute. Dr. Steven Levy, Director and Senior Economist at the Center for the Continuing Study of the California Economy and an Economic Institute board member, contributed to the analysis. Dr. Sean Randolph, President & CEO of the Economic Institute, oversaw development of the study and also contributed to its drafting.