IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/fip/fedlwp/2007-031.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Earnings functions when wages and prices vary by location

Author

Listed:
  • Dan A. Black
  • Natalia A. Kolesnikova
  • Lowell J. Taylor

Abstract

In this paper we study whether location-specific price variation likely affects statistical inference and theoretical interpretation in the empirical implementation of human capital earnings functions. We demonstrate, in a model of local labor markets, that the ?return to schooling\" is a constant across locations if and only if preferences are homothetic ? a special case that seems unlikely to generally pertain. Examination of U.S. Census data (for 1980, 1990, and 2000) provides persuasive evidence that the return to a college education, relative to a high school education, does indeed vary widely across cities, e.g., in 1990 the return in Houston is 0.54 while in Seattle it is only 0.33. We provide theoretical reasons to suspect that the returns to education are relatively lower in expensive high-amenity locations, and present evidence consistent with this prediction. Finally, we raise concerns about standard empirical exercises in labor economics which treat the returns to education as a single parameter.

Suggested Citation

  • Dan A. Black & Natalia A. Kolesnikova & Lowell J. Taylor, 2007. "Earnings functions when wages and prices vary by location," Working Papers 2007-031, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2007-031
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://research.stlouisfed.org/wp/2007/2007-031.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Card & Alan Krueger, 1990. "School Quality and Black/White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," Working Papers 652, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    2. Harmon, Oskar R., 1988. "The income elasticity of demand for single-family owner-occupied housing: An empirical reconciliation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 173-185, September.
    3. Kevin M. Murphy & Finis Welch, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326.
    4. Berry, Christopher R. & Glaeser, Edward L., 2005. "Divergence of Human Capital Levels across Cities," Working Paper Series rwp05-057, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    5. Rosen, Harvey S., 1985. "Housing subsidies: Effects on housing decisions, efficiency, and equity," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 375-420, Elsevier.
    6. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    7. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-1278, December.
    8. Barry R. Chiswick, 1974. "Income Inequality: Regional Analyses within a Human Capital Framework," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number chis74-1, december.
    9. David Card & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "School Quality and Black-White Relative Earnings: A Direct Assessment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 151-200.
    10. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2005. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 345-375, April.
    11. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. William C. Horrace & Peter Schmidt, 2000. "Multiple comparisons with the best, with economic applications," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 1-26.
    13. Lee, Sanghoon, 2010. "Ability sorting and consumer city," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 20-33, July.
    14. O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), 1999. "Handbook of Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 3, number 3.
    15. Stuart A. Gabriel & Stuart S. Rosenthal, 2004. "Quality of the Business Environment Versus Quality of Life: Do Firms and Households Like the Same Cities?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 438-444, February.
    16. Donald R. Haurin, 1980. "The Regional Distribution of Population, Migration, and Climate," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(2), pages 293-308.
    17. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, december.
    18. Hausman, J. A. & Newey, W. K. & Powell, J. L., 1995. "Nonlinear errors in variables Estimation of some Engel curves," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 205-233, January.
    19. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863, Elsevier.
    20. Glaeser, Edward L & Mare, David C, 2001. "Cities and Skills," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 316-342, April.
    21. James J. Heckman & Lance J. Lochner & Petra E. Todd, 2003. "Fifty Years of Mincer Earnings Regressions," NBER Working Papers 9732, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    22. Olsen, Edgar O., 1987. "The demand and supply of housing service: A critical survey of the empirical literature," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 25, pages 989-1022, Elsevier.
    23. Beeson, Patricia E., 1991. "Amenities and regional differences in returns to worker characteristics," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 224-241, September.
    24. Joshua D. Angrist & Alan B. Keueger, 1991. "Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 979-1014.
    25. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    26. Gordon B. Dahl, 2002. "Mobility and the Return to Education: Testing a Roy Model with Multiple Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2367-2420, November.
    27. Christopher R. Berry & Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The divergence of human capital levels across cities," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 84(3), pages 407-444, August.
    28. Black, Dan & Sanders, Seth & Taylor, Lowell, 2003. "Measurement of Higher Education in the Census and Current Population Survey," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 98, pages 545-554, January.
    29. Gyourko, Joseph & Kahn, Matthew & Tracy, Joseph, 1999. "Quality of life and environmental comparisons," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: P. C. Cheshire & E. S. Mills (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 1413-1454, Elsevier.
    30. Christopher R. Berry & Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Divergence of Human Capital Levels across Cities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2091, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    31. Chen, Yong & Rosenthal, Stuart S., 2008. "Local amenities and life-cycle migration: Do people move for jobs or fun?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(3), pages 519-537, November.
    32. Christopher R. Berry & Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Divergence of Human Capital Levels Across Cities," NBER Working Papers 11617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    33. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-392, June.
    34. Daron Acemoglu, 1996. "A Microfoundation for Social Increasing Returns in Human Capital Accumulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(3), pages 779-804.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Douglas J. Krupka & Kwame N. Donaldson, 2013. "Wages, Rents, And Heterogeneous Moving Costs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 844-864, January.
    2. Ernesto Amaral & Bernardo Queiroz & Júlia Calazans, 2015. "Demographic changes, educational improvements, and earnings in Brazil and Mexico," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-21, December.
    3. John V. Winters, 2013. "Human capital externalities and employment differences across metropolitan areas of the USA," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(5), pages 799-822, September.
    4. Fu, Yuming & Gabriel, Stuart A., 2012. "Labor migration, human capital agglomeration and regional development in China," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 473-484.
    5. De la Roca, Jorge, 2017. "Selection in initial and return migration: Evidence from moves across Spanish cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 33-53.
    6. Arthur Grimes & Shaan Badenhorst & David C. Maré & Jacques Poot, 2020. "Hometown whanau or big city millennials? The economic geography of graduate destination choices in New Zealand," Working Papers 20_04, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    7. Edward L. Glaeser & Joshua D. Gottlieb, 2008. "The Economics of Place-Making Policies," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 155-253.
    8. Edward L. Glaeser & Scott Duke Kominers & Michael Luca & Nikhil Naik, 2018. "Big Data And Big Cities: The Promises And Limitations Of Improved Measures Of Urban Life," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(1), pages 114-137, January.
    9. Cunningham, Chris & Patton, Michaela C. & Reed, Robert R., 2016. "Heterogeneous returns to knowledge exchange: Evidence from the urban wage premium," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 126(PA), pages 120-139.
    10. Arntz, Melanie & Brüll, Eduard & Lipowski, Cäcilia, 2021. "Do preferences for urban amenities really differ by skill?," ZEW Discussion Papers 21-045, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    11. Mariana Pereira-López & Isidro Soloaga, 2015. "External returns to higher education in Mexico 2000-2010," Ensayos Revista de Economia, Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Facultad de Economia, vol. 0(1), pages 1-34, May.
    12. Andrea Caragliu & Chiara Del Bo & Peter Nijkamp, 2012. "A Map of Human Capital in European Cities," Chapters, in: Marina van Geenhuizen & Peter Nijkamp (ed.), Creative Knowledge Cities, chapter 9, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    13. Anthony M. Yezer & Daniel A. Broxterman, 2014. "Why Does Skill Intensity Vary Across Cities? Housing Cost and True Human Capital," Working Papers 2014-15, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    14. Viktor A. Venhorst, 2017. "Human capital spillovers in Dutch cities: consumption or productivity?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 59(3), pages 793-817, November.
    15. Ganong, Peter Nathan & Shoag, Daniel W, 2012. "Why Has Regional Convergence in the U.S. Stopped?," Scholarly Articles 9361381, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
    16. Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer‐Wohl, 2017. "Understanding The Long‐Run Decline In Interstate Migration," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 58, pages 57-94, February.
    17. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2005. "Trends in U. S. Wage Inequality: Re-Assessing the Revisionists," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2095, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    18. Winters, John V., 2011. "Human capital, higher education institutions, and quality of life," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 446-454, September.
    19. Rudiger Ahrend & Emily Farchy & Ioannis Kaplanis & Alexander C. Lembcke, 2017. "What Makes Cities More Productive? Evidence From Five Oecd Countries On The Role Of Urban Governance," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 385-410, June.
    20. Winters, John V., 2014. "The Production and Stock of College Graduates for U.S. States," IZA Discussion Papers 8730, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Wages; Labor market; Education;
    All these keywords.

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2007-031. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbslus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/frbslus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.