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Why Does Educational Attainment Differ Across U.S. States?

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  • Lutz Hendricks

Abstract

The fraction of persons holding a college degree differs nearly two-fold across U.S. states. This paper documents data related to state educational attainment differences and explores possible explanations. It shows that highly educated states employ skillbiased technologies, specialize in skill-intensive industries, but do not pay lower skill premia than do less educated states. Moreover, measures of urbanization and population density are positively related to educational attainment. Theories based on agglomeration economies offer natural explanations for these observations.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1335.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1335

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Keywords: education; agglomeration;

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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2005. "Factor price equality and the economies of the United States," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library 3693, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
  3. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Patterns of Skill Premia," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 199-230, 04.
  4. Goldin, Claudia, 1998. "America's Graduation from High School: The Evolution and Spread of Secondary Schooling in the Twentieth Century," Scholarly Articles 2664307, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Claudia Goldin, 1999. "Egalitarianism and the Returns to Education during the Great Transformation of American Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(S6), pages S65-S94, December.
  6. Helsley, Robert W. & Strange, William C., 1990. "Matching and agglomeration economies in a system of cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 189-212, September.
  7. Giles Duranton & Diego Puga, 2003. "Micro-Foundations of Urban Agglomeration Economies," NBER Working Papers 9931, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Glaeser, Edward L & Mare, David C, 2001. "Cities and Skills," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 316-42, April.
  9. Acemoglu, Daron, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809, October.
  10. Bound, John & Groen, Jeffrey & Kezdi, G.Gabor & Turner, Sarah, 2004. "Trade in university training: cross-state variation in the production and stock of college-educated labor," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 143-173.
  11. Scott Baier & Sean Mulholland & Chad Turner & Robert Tamura, 2004. "Income and education of the states of the United States: 1840–2000," Working Paper, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta 2004-31, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
  12. Antonio Ciccone & Giovanni Peri, 2004. "Long-run substitutability between more and less educated workers: Evidence from U.S. States 1950-1990," Economics Working Papers, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra 764, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  13. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 1999. "A Theory of Urban Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 252-284, April.
  14. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2004. "Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 49, pages 2119-2171 Elsevier.
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Cited by:
  1. Roc Armenter & Francesc Ortega, 2010. "Credible Redistributive Policies and Migration across US States," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(2), pages 403-423, April.
  2. Linnea Polgreen & Pedro Silos, 2008. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Sensitivity Analysis," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 11(2), pages 302-313, April.
  3. Ratna, Nazmun N. & Quentin Grafton, R. & Kompas, Tom, 2009. "Is diversity bad for economic growth?: Evidence from state-level data in the US," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 859-870, December.
  4. Dincer, Oguzhan C., 2011. "Trust and schooling in the United States," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 1097-1102, October.
  5. Norman Baldwin & Stephen Borrelli, 2008. "Education and economic growth in the United States: cross-national applications for an intra-national path analysis," Policy Sciences, Springer, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 183-204, September.

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