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Ability sorting and consumer city

  • Lee, Sanghoon

This paper provides a consumption-side explanation for the urban wage premium. The paper shows that if the taste for consumption variety is a luxury good, high average wages in large cities can be due to the selection of high-skill workers choosing to live there. A unique implication is that urban wage premiums are decreasing in skills and can even be negative for very high-skill workers. I confirm this implication using data on the health care workers.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Urban Economics.

Volume (Year): 68 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
Pages: 20-33

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Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:68:y:2010:i:1:p:20-33
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  1. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent, 2004. "Spatial Wage Disparities: Sorting Matters!," CEPR Discussion Papers 4240, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  5. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2004. "Micro-foundations of urban agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 48, pages 2063-2117 Elsevier.
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  12. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
  13. Gautier, Pieter A. & Svarer, Michael & Teulings, Coen N., 2010. "Marriage and the city: Search frictions and sorting of singles," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 206-218, March.
  14. Baumgardner, James R, 1988. "The Division of Labor, Local Markets, and Worker Organization," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 509-27, June.
  15. Marigee Bacolod & Bernardo S. Blum & William C. Strange, 2009. "Urban interactions: soft skills versus specialization," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 227-262, March.
  16. Tabuchi, Takatoshi & Yoshida, Atsushi, 2000. "Separating Urban Agglomeration Economies in Consumption and Production," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 70-84, July.
  17. James E. Rauch, 1991. "Productivity Gains From Geographic Concentration of human Capital: Evidence From the Cities," NBER Working Papers 3905, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Glaeser, Edward L & Mare, David C, 2001. "Cities and Skills," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 316-42, April.
  19. Dahl, Michael S. & Sorenson, Olav, 2010. "The migration of technical workers," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 33-45, January.
  20. Janice Compton & Robert A. Pollak, 2004. "Why Are Power Couples Increasingly Concentrated in Large Metropolitan Areas," NBER Working Papers 10918, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
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