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A re-examination of the social returns to education: Evidence from U.S. cities

Listed author(s):
  • Sand, Benjamin M.

This paper re-examines the impact of city educational composition on wages, often interpreted as human capital externalities. Using U.S. Census data, I find large, positive spillovers from college education in the 1980s, as documented by Moretti (2004a). In contrast, in the 1990s, the supply of skilled workers has no impact on average wages and may even negatively impact the wages of low-skill workers. These findings invite reinterpretation of previous studies on social returns to education, as shifts in the impact of city education composition on wages are not consistent with standard models of technological human capital externalities.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0927537113000791
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 24 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 97-106

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:24:y:2013:i:c:p:97-106
DOI: 10.1016/j.labeco.2013.07.001
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

References listed on IDEAS
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  1. Antonio Ciccone & Giovanni Peri, 2006. "Identifying Human-Capital Externalities: Theory with Applications," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(2), pages 381-412.
  2. Dan Black & Natalia Kolesnikova & Lowell Taylor, 2009. "Earnings Functions When Wages and Prices Vary by Location," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 21-47, January.
  3. Moretti, Enrico, 2004. "Estimating the social return to higher education: evidence from longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 175-212.
  4. Mark Doms & Ethan Lewis, 2006. "Labor supply and personal computer adoption," Working Paper Series 2006-18, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
  5. Colm Harmon & Hessel Oosterbeek & Ian Walker, 2000. "The returns to education : a review of evidence, issues and deficiencies in the literature," Open Access publications 10197/670, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  6. Jeremy B. Rudd, 2000. "Empirical evidence on human capital spillovers," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2000-46, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  7. Lange, Fabian & Topel, Robert, 2006. "The Social Value of Education and Human Capital," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  8. Deaton, Angus & Lubotsky, Darren, 2003. "Mortality, inequality and race in American cities and states," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 56(6), pages 1139-1153, March.
  9. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 733-783, October.
  10. Paul Beaudry & David A. Green & Benjamin Sand, 2012. "Does Industrial Composition Matter for Wages? A Test of Search and Bargaining Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(3), pages 1063-1104, May.
  11. Susana Iranzo & Giovanni Peri, 2009. "Schooling Externalities, Technology, and Productivity: Theory and Evidence from U.S. States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 420-431, May.
  12. Card, David, 2001. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 22-64, January.
  13. Rappaport, Jordan, 2007. "Moving to nice weather," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 375-398, May.
  14. Christopher H. Wheeler & Elizabeth A. La Jeunesse, 2006. "Trends in the distributions of income and human capital within metropolitan areas: 1980-2000," Working Papers 2006-055, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  15. Gordon B. Dahl, 2002. "Mobility and the Return to Education: Testing a Roy Model with Multiple Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2367-2420, November.
  16. Moretti, Enrico, 2004. "Human capital externalities in cities," 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 51, pages 2243-2291 Elsevier.
  17. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
  18. Ethan Lewis, 2011. "Immigration, Skill Mix, and Capital Skill Complementarity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(2), pages 1029-1069.
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