Industrial Specialization and the Returns to Labor
Comparative advantage and the division of labor make geographic concentration of production within a nation profitable and cause many cities to be specialized in one or a few main industries. Specialized cities, however, suffer greater unemployment risk. The theory of compensating wage differentials predicts that individuals living in more specialized cities will be compensated in the form of higher wage rates. The authors study the effects of specialization on wages and unemployment in the United States. They find evidence of compensating wage differentials. That firms choose to locate in more specialized, higher-wage cities is indirect evidence of the gains to specialization. Copyright 1990 by University of Chicago Press.
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