Archive for Sunday, October 23, 2005

Conference to focus on boosting Kansas’ economy

October 23, 2005


The Kansas Bioscience Authority could be a model for the state to advance in other areas of the Kansas economy, said Lee Allison, director of the Kansas Geological Survey.

Allison, who also serves as policy adviser for science and energy to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, will discuss the Kansas economy and ways the state can boost its scientific leadership at the annual Kansas Economic Policy Conference Thursday at Kansas University.

The event attracts more than 100 people from government, business and academia. It's set in KU's Kansas Union.

The authority, formed by the 2004 Kansas Economic Growth Act, reinvests the funds from growth in biotechnology tax dollars back into the life sciences.

Allison said its model could be replicated to boost other sectors.

The United States is falling behind globally in its scientific leadership, he said.

His example: South Korea, a country with one-fifth the U.S.' population, produces as many engineers as the U.S. Federal policy is falling behind, Allison said, and "it's going to be up to the state to make the difference."

Allison will discuss what Kansas can do in his speech at the conference.

Other speakers include Peter Orazem, economics professor at Iowa State University and a Koch visiting professor to KU in 2004-05; Mike Hayden, secretary for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and former Kansas governor; Arthur Hall, executive director of the Center for Applied Economics in KU's business school; and Daniel Flynn, president and CEO of the Lawrence-based Deciphera Pharmaceuticals.

Orazem will discuss "The Kansas Productivity Puzzle." From the late 1970s to 2001, the Kansas economy grew at 2.4 percent a year, slower than the 3.1 percent growth rate of U.S. economy.

Growth in labor productivity, output per worker, also has lagged. But Kansas isn't alone.

"The Midwest in general has been disadvantaged when it comes to productivity growth," Orazem said.

One potential factor, Orazem said, is population density. More populated areas have not had experienced the lags of the more rural areas. Another factor: high-speed Internet access, he said.

"It's possible that better communications are going to link more remote firms to their urban customers or their out of state customers," he said. "That's going to potentially allow their companies to grow."


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.