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Do Natural Amenities Attract High-tech Jobs? Evidence From a Smoothed Bayesian Spatial Model


  • Jeffrey H. Dorfman
  • Mark D. Partridge
  • Hamilton Galloway


We investigate the popular theory that high-technology workers are drawn to high amenity locations and then the jobs follow the workers. Using a novel data set that tracks high-technology job growth by US county, we estimate spatial parameters of the response of high-tech job growth to the level of local natural amenities. For estimation we utilize a reasonably new class of models, smooth coefficient models, taking advantage of their flexibility to allow the response of high-tech job growth to be nonlinear with respect to the level of natural amenities. Our results show that amenities are not an important driver for high-technology employment growth. Natural amenities matter most within the subset of US counties that are micropolitan, where they can influence location decisions. Nous penchons sur la théorie populaire d'après laquelle les travailleurs du secteur de la technologie de pointe sont attirés vers des lieux à infrastructure supérieure, et les emplois de ce secteur suivent ces mêmes travailleurs. En utilisant un ensemble de données nouveau, qui suit l'expansion des emplois dans le secteur de la technologie de pointe par comté des États-Unis, nous procédons à la réalisation d'une évaluation de paramètres spatiaux de la réaction de l'expansion des emplois dans le secteur de la technologie de pointe au niveau des infrastructures naturelles locales. Pour l'estimation, nous utilisons une catégorie de modèles raisonnablement neuve, des modèles à coefficient de lissage, en exploitant leur souplesse d'emploi afin d'assurer que la réponse de l'expansion des emplois dans la haute technologue soit non linéaire relativement au niveau des ressources naturelles. Les résultats obtenus montrent que les infrastructures ne constituent pas un élément déterminant de l'expansion de l'emploi dans le secteur de la haute technologie. L'importance des infrastructures naturelles est plus importante dans le sous-ensemble des comtés micropolitains des États-Unis, où elles peuvent influer sur des décisions relatives au lieu d'implantation. Investigamos la teoría popular de que los trabajadores de alta tecnología se sienten atraídos hacia lugares con muchas amenidades, y, por lo tanto, que los trabajos acompañan a los trabajadores. Utilizando un conjunto novedoso de datos que rastrea el crecimiento de empleos en alta tecnología por condado estadounidense, estimamos parámetros espaciales de la respuesta del crecimiento de trabajos de alta tecnología al nivel de amenidades naturales locales. Para la estimación utilizamos una clase de modelos razonablemente nuevos, los modelos de coeficiente homogéneo, sacando partido de su flexibilidad para que la respuesta del crecimiento de trabajo de alta tecnología no sea lineal con respecto al nivel de amenidades naturales. Nuestros resultados muestran que las amenidades no representan un aliciente importante para el crecimiento del empleo en alta tecnología. Las amenidades importan más dentro del subconjunto de condados estadounidenses micropolitanos, donde pueden influir sobre las decisiones de ubicación.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey H. Dorfman & Mark D. Partridge & Hamilton Galloway, 2011. "Do Natural Amenities Attract High-tech Jobs? Evidence From a Smoothed Bayesian Spatial Model," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(4), pages 397-422, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:specan:v:6:y:2011:i:4:p:397-422
    DOI: 10.1080/17421772.2011.610811

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    Cited by:

    1. Rickman, Dan S. & Wang, Hongbo, 2018. "Two tales of two U.S. states: Regional fiscal austerity and economic performance," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(C), pages 46-55.
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    3. Tsvetkova, Alexandra & Partridge, Mark, 2017. "The shale revolution and entrepreneurship: An assessment of the relationship between energy sector expansion and small business entrepreneurship in US counties," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 423-434.
    4. Clément Gorin, 2016. "Patterns and determinants of inventors’ mobility across European urban areas," Working Papers 1615, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
    5. Tsvetkova, Alexandra & Partridge, Mark D., 2016. "Economics of modern energy boomtowns: Do oil and gas shocks differ from shocks in the rest of the economy?," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 81-95.
    6. Ernest Miguélez & Rosina Moreno, 2014. "What Attracts Knowledge Workers? The Role Of Space And Social Networks," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(1), pages 33-60, January.
    7. Zhiling Wang & Thomas de Graaff & Peter Nijkamp, 2014. "The choice of migration destinations: cultural diversity versus cultural distance," ERSA conference papers ersa14p1147, European Regional Science Association.
    8. Xu, Wan & Khachatryan, Hayk, 2013. "The Impact of Integrated Pest Management Practices on U.S. National Nursery Industry Annul Sales Revenue: An Application of Smooth Transition Spatial Autoregressive Models," 2013 Annual Meeting, February 2-5, 2013, Orlando, Florida 142961, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.
    9. Partridge, Mark & Betz, Mike, 2012. "Country Road Take Me Home: Migration Patterns in the Appalachia America and Place-Based Policy," MPRA Paper 38293, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Zhang, Min & Partridge, Mark & Song, Huasheng, 2018. "Amenities and Geography of Innovation: Evidence from Chinese Cities," MPRA Paper 83673, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. B. Fingleton & P. Cheshire & H. Garretsen & D. Igliori & J. Le Gallo & P. McCann & J. McCombie & V. Monastiriotis & B. Moore & M. Roberts, 2011. "Editorial," Spatial Economic Analysis, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(4), pages 351-357, December.
    12. Luisa Gagliardi & Teresa Schlüter, 2015. "The Role of Education for Amenity Based Sorting in British Cities," SERC Discussion Papers 0184, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    13. Clément Gorin, 2016. "Patterns and determinants of inventors' mobility across European urban areas," Working Papers halshs-01313086, HAL.
    14. Maynard, Leigh J. & Dunaway, Tarrah & Garkovich, Lorraine & Davis, Alison F., 2013. "The Impact of Agriculture on Other Business Activity: A Nationwide Analysis Applied to Fayette County, Kentucky," 2013 Annual Meeting, February 2-5, 2013, Orlando, Florida 142131, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.

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