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The Varieties of Regional Change

  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Giacomo Ponzetto
  • Kristina Tobio

Many metropolitan areas have experienced extreme boom-bust cycles over the past century. Some places, like Detroit, grew enormously as industrial powerhouses and then declined, while other older cities, like Boston, seem quite resilient. Education does a reasonable job of explaining urban resilience. In this paper, we present a simple model where education increases the level of entrepreneurship. In this model, human capital spillovers occur at the city level because skilled workers produce more product varieties and thereby increase labor demand. We decompose empirically the causes of the connection between skills and urban success and find that skills are associated with growth in productivity or entrepreneurship, not with growth in quality of life, at least outside of the West. We also find that skills seem to have depressed housing supply growth in the West, but not in other regions, which supports the view that educated residents in that region have fought for tougher land-use controls. We also present evidence that skills have had a disproportionately large impact on unemployment during the current recession.

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Paper provided by Barcelona Graduate School of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 472.

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Date of creation: Jun 2010
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Handle: RePEc:bge:wpaper:472
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  1. Desmet, Klaus & Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban, 2009. "Spatial growth and industry age," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2477-2502, November.
  2. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-51, April.
  3. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  4. Simon, Curtis J. & Nardinelli, Clark, 2002. "Human capital and the rise of American cities, 1900-1990," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 59-96, January.
  5. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1991. "Convergence across States and Regions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 107-182.
  6. Jaimovich, Nir & Floetotto, Max, 2008. "Firm dynamics, markup variations, and the business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(7), pages 1238-1252, October.
  7. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Mark L. J. Wright, 2007. "Urban Structure and Growth," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(2), pages 597-624.
  8. Edward L Glaeser & Jesse M Shapiro, 2003. "Urban Growth in the 1990s: Is City Living Back?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 139-165.
  9. Edward L. Glaeser & Hedi D. Kallal & Jose A. Scheinkman & Andrei Shleifer, 1991. "Growth in Cities," NBER Working Papers 3787, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Kallal, Hedi D. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Scholarly Articles 3451309, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Klaus Desmet & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2009. "Spatial development," Working Papers 2009-18, Instituto MadrileƱo de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales, revised 28 May 2010.
  11. Edward Glaeser & Janet Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, regions and the decline of transport costs," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 83(1), pages 197-228, October.
  12. 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.
  13. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew G. Resseger, 2010. "The Complementarity Between Cities And Skills," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 221-244.
  14. Glaeser, Edward L. & Scheinkman, JoseA. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1995. "Economic growth in a cross-section of cities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 117-143, August.
  15. Gabaix, Xavier & Ioannides, Yannis M., 2004. "The evolution of city size distributions," 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 53, pages 2341-2378 Elsevier.
  16. Edward L. Glaeser & Kristina Tobio, 2008. "The Rise of the Sunbelt," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 610-643, January.
  17. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 1999. "A Theory of Urban Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 252-284, April.
  18. Steckel, Richard H., 1978. "The Economics of U.S. Slave and Southern White Fertility," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 38(01), pages 289-291, March.
  19. Edward L. Glaeser & Albert Saiz, 2003. "The rise of the skilled city," Working Papers 04-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  20. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve Is Downward Sloping: Reexamining The Impact Of Immigration On The Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1335-1374, November.
  21. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Smart Cities: Quality of Life, Productivity, and the Growth Effects of Human Capital," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 324-335, May.
  22. Sukkoo Kim, 2006. "Division of Labor and the Rise of Cities: Evidence from U.S. Industrialization, 1850-1880," NBER Working Papers 12246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Sukkoo Kim, 2006. "Division of labor and the rise of cities: evidence from US industrialization, 1850--1880," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 469-491, August.
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