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Workforce skills across the urban-rural hierarchy

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Abstract

This paper examines differences in the skill content of work throughout the United States, ranging from densely populated city centers to isolated and sparsely populated rural areas. To do so, we classify detailed geographic areas into categories along the entire urban-rural hierarchy. An occupation-based cluster analysis is then used to measure the types of skills available in the regional workforce, which allows for a broader measure of human capital than is captured by conventional measures. We find that the occupation clusters most prevalent in urban areas?scientists, engineers, and executives?are characterized by high levels of social and resource-management skills, as well as the ability to generate ideas and solve complex problems. By contrast, the occupation clusters that are most prevalent in rural areas?machinists, makers, and laborers?are among the lowest in terms of required skills. These differences in the skill content of work shed light on the pattern of earnings observed across the urban-rural hierarchy.

Suggested Citation

  • Jaison R. Abel & Todd M. Gabe & Kevin Stolarick, 2012. "Workforce skills across the urban-rural hierarchy," Staff Reports 552, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fednsr:552
    Note: For a published version of this report, see Jaison R. Abel, Todd M. Gabe, and Kevin Stolarick, "Skills across the Urban-Rural Hierarchy," Growth and Change 45, no. 4 (December 2014): 499-517.
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Moretti, Enrico, 2004. "Estimating the social return to higher education: evidence from longitudinal and repeated cross-sectional data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 175-212.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    earnings; urban-rural; human capital; occupations; skills;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • 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)

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