This article evaluates the contributions which Richard Florida’s seminal ‘creative class’ thesis might make to ongoing efforts to re‐inscribe ‘culture’ back into political economy explanations of the rise of Tiger economies. It reflects upon the value of reconsidering both the role of skilled migrants in Tiger states and the factors which attract skilled migrants to these economies in the first instance. Based upon analyses of a series of focus groups conducted with Scottish expatriates currently working in Dublin, the article specifically attempts to gauge how far the creative class thesis can be stretched to account for the locational preferences of talented migrants. Whilst Florida’s work undoubtedly sheds light on aspects of expatriate existence which might not otherwise have been obvious, its ability to account for the relationships which have existed between technology, talent and tolerance in the Celtic Tiger must be questioned. Moreover, if political economy and Floridian readings are to do more than simply inform one another, there will be a need to establish more clearly the complex ways in which developmental states intersect with skill flows and cosmopolitan cultural agendas.
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