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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. Klaus Desmet & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2010. "Spatial Development," Working Papers 2010.26, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Kristina Tobio, 2008. "The Rise of the Sunbelt," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 610-643, January.
  5. 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.
  6. Barro, R.J. & Sala-I-Martin, X., 1991. "Convergence Across States and Regions," Papers 629, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  7. 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.
  8. Edward L. Glaeser & Albert Saiz, 2003. "The Rise of the Skilled City," NBER Working Papers 10191, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Rauch James E., 1993. "Productivity Gains from Geographic Concentration of Human Capital: Evidence from the Cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 380-400, November.
  10. 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.
  11. Mark Wright & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2004. "Urban Structure and Growth," 2004 Meeting Papers 33, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Edward L. Glaeser & Janet E. Kohlhase, 2003. "Cities, Regions and the Decline of Transport Costs," NBER Working Papers 9886, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Kallal, Hedi D. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Scholarly Articles 3451309, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Nir Jaimovich, 2004. "Firm Dynamics, Markup Variations, and the Business Cycle," Discussion Papers 07-013, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research, revised Mar 2007.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. Desmet, Klaus & Rossi-Hansberg, Esteban, 2009. "Spatial growth and industry age," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(6), pages 2477-2502, November.
  19. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2005. "Smart Cities: Quality of Life, Productivity, and the Growth Effects of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 11615, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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.
  21. Xavier Gabaix, 1999. "Zipf'S Law For Cities: An Explanation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 739-767, August.
  22. 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.
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