Do colleges and universities increase their region's human capital?
We investigate whether the degree production and research and development (R&D) activities of colleges and universities are related to the amount and types of human capital present in the metropolitan areas where the institutions are located. We find that degree production has only a small positive relationship with local stocks of human capital, suggesting that migration plays an important role in the geographic distribution of human capital. Moreover, we show that spillovers from academic R&D activities tilt the structure of local labor markets toward occupations requiring innovation and technical training. These findings demonstrate that colleges and universities raise local human capital levels by increasing both the supply of and demand for skill.
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