IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Human Capital Externalities in Western Germany


  • Daniel Heuermann


Abstract Using panel data and employing instrumental variables we show that regional wage differences across German regions are partly attributable to localized human capital externalities. This finding is stable across different indicators for regional aggregate education and robust to agglomeration, wage curve, price level and amenity effects. A comparison of our results with Moretti's findings for the USA suggests that national labour market institutions influence the distribution of wage gains from aggregate regional education among workers of different educational backgrounds. An analysis by sector reveals that human capital externalities are generally more pronounced in manufacturing than in the service sector. Externalités des ressources humaines en Allemagne de l'Ouest Résumé En utilisant des données pluridimensionnelles et en faisant usage de variables instrumentales, nous sommes en mesure de démontrer que les différences salariales régionales dans les différentes régions d'Allemagne sont attribuables, en partie, à des externalités en ressources humaines localisées. Cette conclusion est stable dans les différents indices pour l’éducation globale à l’échelon régional, et solide sur le plan de l'agglomération, des courbes salariales, des niveaux de prix, et des facteurs d'agrément. Une comparaison entre nos résultats et les conclusions de Moretti, pour les États-Unis, indique que les institutions nationales du marché du travail influent sur la distribution des gains salariaux découlant de l’éducation régionale globale parmi des travailleurs provenant de différents milieux éducatifs. Une analyse par secteur révèle que les externalités de ressources humaines sont généralement plus prononcées dans le secteur industriel que dans le secteur tertiaire. Factores exógenos del capital humano en Alemania Occidental Resumen Utilizando datos de panel y empleando variables instrumentales, demostramos que las diferencias salariales interregionales alemanas pueden atribuirse en parte a factores exógenos de capital humano confinados. Esta conclusión es estable entre los diferentes indicadores del acumulado regional de educación y consistente ante los efectos de la aglomeración, curva salarial, nivel de precios y servicios públicos. Una comparación de nuestros resultados con las conclusiones de Moretti relativas a los EE.UU., sugiere que las instituciones asociadas con el mercado laboral nacional ejercen influencia sobre la distribución de las ganancias salariales del acumulado de educación regional entre los trabajadores de los diferentes niveles de estudio. Un análisis por sector revela que los factores exógenos de capital humano son, en términos generales, más pronunciados en el sector de producción que en el de servicios.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Heuermann, 2011. "Human Capital Externalities in Western Germany," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 139-165.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:specan:v:6:y:2011:i:2:p:139-165
    DOI: 10.1080/17421772.2011.557775

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Rasmus Thönnessen & Erich Gundlach, 2013. "The size of human capital externalities: cross-country evidence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 157(3), pages 671-689, December.
    2. Chauvin, Juan Pablo & Glaeser, Edward & Ma, Yueran & Tobio, Kristina, 2017. "What is different about urbanization in rich and poor countries? Cities in Brazil, China, India and the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 17-49.
    3. Florian Immanuel Schumacher & Joilson Dias, 2011. "The Human Capital Function: Sectoralexternalities," Anais do XXXVIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 38th Brazilian Economics Meeting] 215, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    4. Peters, Jan Cornelius, 2016. "Quantifying the effect of labor market size on learning externalities," Economics Working Papers 2016-11, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    5. Thönnessen, Rasmus, 2014. "Human capital externalities vs. substitution effects as determinants of regional wages: Evidence from German micro data," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100345, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. B. Fingleton & P. Cheshire & H. Garretsen & D. Igliori & J. Le Gallo & P. McCann & J. McCombie & V. Monastiriotis & B. Moore & M. Roberts, 2011. "We Move into Distinguished Company," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 133-138.
    7. John V. Winters, 2015. "Do higher levels of education and skills in an area benefit wider society?," IZA World of Labor, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), pages 130-130, March.
    8. Charlie Karlsson & Börje Johansson & Roger R. Stough, 2012. "Introduction – Human Capital and Agglomeration," Chapters,in: The Regional Economics of Knowledge and Talent, chapter 1 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    9. Möller, Joachim & Eppelsheimer, Johann, 2016. "The Wage Effects of Regional Brain Gain and Brain Drain Revisited," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145506, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Filiztekin, Alpay, 2011. "Social returns to education in a developing country," MPRA Paper 35124, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Human capital externalities; regional wage differences; D62; J24; J31; O15;

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:taf:specan:v:6:y:2011:i:2:p:139-165. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Chris Longhurst). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.