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Human capital growth in a cross section of U.S. metropolitan areas

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  • Christopher H. Wheeler

Abstract

Human capital is typically viewed as generating a number of desirable outcomes, including economic growth. Yet, in spite of its importance, few empirical studies have explored why some economies accumulate more human capital than others. This paper attempts to do so using a sample of more than 200 metropolitan areas in the United States over the years 1980, 1990, and 2000. The results reveal two consistently significant correlates of human capital growth, defined as the change in a city*s rate of college completion: population and the existing stock of college-educated labor. Given that population growth and human capital accumulation are both positively associated with education, these results suggest that the geographic distributions of population and human capital should have become more concentrated in recent decades. That is, larger, more educated metropolitan areas should have exhibited the fastest rates of increase in both population and education and thus #pulled away* from smaller, less-educated metropolitan areas. The evidence largely supports this conclusion.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis in its series Working Papers with number 2005-065.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Publication status: Published in Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Review, March/April 2006, 88(2), pp. 113-32
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2005-065

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Keywords: Human capital;

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  1. Barro, Robert J, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-43, May.
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    • Robert J. Barro & Paul M. Romer, 1991. "Economic Growth," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number barr91-1.
  7. repec:fth:stanho:e-95-4 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Enrico Moretti, 2003. "Human Capital Externalities in Cities," NBER Working Papers 9641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
  10. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 155-189, March.
  11. Edward L. Glaeser, 1997. "Learning in Cities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1814, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  12. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 1999. "A Theory of Urban Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 252-284, April.
  13. Peri, Giovanni, 2002. "Young workers, learning, and agglomerations," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(3), pages 582-607, November.
  14. Thomas S. Dee, 2003. "Are There Civic Returns to Education?," NBER Working Papers 9588, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. repec:fth:prinin:338 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Jin Huem Park, 1994. "Estimation of Sheepskin Effects and Returns to Schooling Using he Old and the New CPS Measures of Educational Attainment," Working Papers 717, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  17. Milligan, Kevin & Moretti, Enrico & Oreopoulos, Philip, 2004. "Does education improve citizenship? Evidence from the United States and the United Kingdom," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 1667-1695, August.
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Cited by:
  1. Steven Poelhekke, 2006. "Do Amenities and Diversity Encourage City Growth? A Link Through Skilled Labor," Economics Working Papers ECO2006/10, European University Institute.
  2. S├╝dekum, Jens, 2008. "Convergence of the skill composition across German regions," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 148-159, March.
  3. Christopher H. Wheeler, 2007. "Human capital externalities and adult mortality in the U.S," Working Papers 2007-045, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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