- Paul Krugman wrote in The New York Times that Detroit's severe decline was the result of a higher degree of job sprawl compared to Pittsburgh, and Slate's Matthew Yglesias speculates that this job sprawl is the result of Detroit's lack of a major university.
- Pittsburgh has Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, whereas Detroit has a less influential university in Wayne State—and Yglesias postulates that the city would have been better off if the University of Michigan was located there instead of nearby Ann Arbor.
- Universities not only bring medical facilities to a community, but also neighborhood-level retail, providing an economic boost in both knowledge and money.
From the article:
... Of course cities can thrive without necessarily playing host to a prestigious private university or a public university flagship campus (San Antonio, for example) but for lots of older cities hit hard by the macroeconomic trends of the 1970s and 1980s the existence of major universities has provided a foundation for rebuilding. ...