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Human capital growth in a cross section of U.S. metropolitan areas

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  • Christopher H. Wheeler

Abstract

Human capital is typically viewed as generating a number of desirable outcomes, including economic growth. Yet, in spite of its importance, few empirical studies have explored why some economies accumulate more human capital than others. This paper attempts to do so using a sample of more than 200 metropolitan areas in the United States over the years 1980, 1990, and 2000. The results reveal two consistently significant correlates of human capital growth, defined as the change in a city*s rate of college completion: population and the existing stock of college-educated labor. Given that population growth and human capital accumulation are both positively associated with education, these results suggest that the geographic distributions of population and human capital should have become more concentrated in recent decades. That is, larger, more educated metropolitan areas should have exhibited the fastest rates of increase in both population and education and thus #pulled away* from smaller, less-educated metropolitan areas. The evidence largely supports this conclusion.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher H. Wheeler, 2005. "Human capital growth in a cross section of U.S. metropolitan areas," Working Papers 2005-065, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2005-065
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher H. Wheeler, 2007. "Human capital externalities and adult mortality in the U.S," Working Papers 2007-045, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    2. Dudensing, Rebekka M. & Barkley, David L., 2010. "Competitiveness of Southern Metropolitan Areas: The Role of New Economy Policies," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 40(2), pages 197-226.
    3. Steven Poelhekke, 2006. "Do Amenities and Diversity Encourage City Growth? A Link Through Skilled Labor," Economics Working Papers ECO2006/10, European University Institute.
    4. Ishwarya Balasubramanian, 2014. "Local skill concentrations and district employment growth: A Spatial simultaneous equation approach for India," Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai Working Papers 2014-033, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research, Mumbai, India.
    5. S├╝dekum, Jens, 2008. "Convergence of the skill composition across German regions," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 148-159, March.

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    Human capital;

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