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Power Couples: Changes in the Locational Choice of the College Educated, 1940-1990

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  • Dora L. Costa
  • Matthew E. Kahn

Abstract

The rise of the dual career household is a recent phenomenon spurred by the increase in married women's labor force participation rates and educational attainment rates. Compared to traditional households these households must solve a colocation problem. This paper documents trends in locational choice between large and small metropolitan areas and non-metropolitan areas by household type from 1940 to 1990. We find that college educated couples are increasingly concentrated in large metropolitan areas and attribute at least half of this increase to the growing severity of the colocation problem. We also find that the relative returns for a college-educated couple of being in a large relative to a small city have increased across decades. Our results suggest that because skilled professionals are increasingly bundled with an equally skilled spouse, smaller cities may experience reduced inflows of human capital relative to the past and therefore become poorer. We examine how the relationship between rankings of university graduate programs and city size has changed between 1970 and 1990 to provide suggestive evidence on the importance of city size to firms' ability to attract the best workers.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7109.

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Date of creation: May 1999
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Publication status: published as Costa, Dora L. and Matthew E. Kahn. "Power Couples: Changes In The Location Choice Of The College Educated," Quarterly Journal of Economics, 2000, v115(4,Nov), 1287-1315.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7109

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Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. New Thoughts on the Co-Location Problem: Evidence from Political Science "Power Couples"
    by Matthew E. Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2011-01-29 22:56:00
  2. The Rise of Power Couples and the 1%
    by Matthew E. Kahn in the reality-based community on 2012-01-15 16:20:22
  3. Power Couples Revisited
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2013-06-03 16:13:00
  4. Power Couples Revisited
    by Matthew Kahn in Urbanization Project on 2013-06-04 13:00:53
  5. Unintended Consequences Caused by Women who Work in the Market Sector
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2013-10-26 11:38:00
  6. Urban Marriage Markets
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2013-11-17 15:27:00
  7. Power Couples in Urban China
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2014-02-27 01:35:00
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