The 2017 State New Economy Index: Benchmarking Economic Transformation in the States

81 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2017

See all articles by Robert D. Atkinson

Robert D. Atkinson

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

J. John Wu

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Date Written: November 6, 2017


The purpose of the State New Economy Index is to measure states’ economic structure. Unlike other reports that assess state economic performance or state economic policies, this study focuses more narrowly on a simple question: To what degree does the structure of the 50 state economies match the ideal structure of the innovation-driven New Economy? For example, we know that a defining characteristic of the New Economy is that it is global. Therefore, the Index uses a number of variables to measure state economies’ degrees of global integration.

This edition of the Index builds on seven prior editions, which were published in 1999, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, and 2014. It now uses 25 indicators, which are divided into five categories that best capture what is important about the New Economy:

1. Knowledge jobs: Indicators measure employment of IT professionals outside the IT industry; jobs held by managers, professionals, and technicians; the educational attainment of the entire workforce; immigration of knowledge workers; migration of domestic knowledge workers; worker productivity in the manufacturing sector; and employment in high-wage traded services.

2. Globalization: Indicators measure foreign direct investment; export orientation of manufacturing and services; and the share of each state’s output that goes to high-tech goods and services exports.

3. Economic dynamism: Indicators measure the degree of business churn (i.e., the percentage of new business start-ups and failures); the number of fast-growing firms (businesses listed in the Inc. 5000 index); the number and value of initial public stock offerings (IPOs) by companies; and the number of individual inventor patents granted.

4. The digital economy: Indicators measure Internet and computer use by farmers; the degree to which state governments use information technologies to deliver services; adoption rates and speed of broadband telecommunications; and use of information technology in the health care system.

5. Innovation capacity: Indicators measure the number of jobs in high-tech industries such as electronics manufacturing, telecommunications, and biomedical industries; the number of scientists and engineers in the workforce; the number of patents granted; industry investment in research and development; non-industry investment in research and development; movement toward a clean energy economy; and venture capital investment.

Keywords: Innovation, Competitiveness, IT, Globalization, Digital Economy, New Economy, Businesses, Broadband, Workforce

Suggested Citation

Atkinson, Robert D. and Wu, J. John, The 2017 State New Economy Index: Benchmarking Economic Transformation in the States (November 6, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Robert D. Atkinson (Contact Author)

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation ( email )

1101 K Street N.W.
Suite 610
Washington, DC 20005
United States

J. John Wu

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation ( email )

1101 K Street NW, Suite 610
Washington, DC District of Columbia 20005
United States

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