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The Return to Big City Experience: Evidence from Danish Refugees

Author

Listed:
  • Fabian Eckert
  • Mads Hejlesen
  • Conor Walsh

Abstract

We offer causal evidence of higher returns to experience in big cities. Exploiting a natural experiment that settled political refugees across labor markets in Denmark between 1986 and 1998, we find that while refugees initially earn similar wages across locations, those placed in Copenhagen exhibit 35% faster wage growth with each additional year of experience. This gap is driven primarily by differential sorting towards high-wage establishments, occupations, and industries. An estimated spatial model of earnings dynamics attributes an important role to unobserved worker ability: more able refugees transition to more productive establishments faster in Copenhagen than in other cities.

Suggested Citation

  • Fabian Eckert & Mads Hejlesen & Conor Walsh, 2019. "The Return to Big City Experience: Evidence from Danish Refugees," Working Papers 24, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmoi:0024
    DOI: 10.21034/iwp.24
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2016. "Rethinking The Effect Of Immigration On Wages," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: The Economics of International Migration, chapter 2, pages 35-80, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    Cited by:

    1. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Pietrostefani, Elisabetta, 2019. "The economic effects of density: A synthesis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 93-107.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agglomeration economies; Urban; Regional labor markets; Resettlement; Wage differentials;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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