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Workforce skills across the urban-rural hierarchy

Author

Listed:
  • Jaison R. Abel
  • Todd M. Gabe
  • Kevin Stolarick

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
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    File URL: https://www.newyorkfed.org/medialibrary/media/research/staff_reports/sr552.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    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.
    2. Todd M. Gabe, 2009. "Knowledge And Earnings," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 439-457.
    3. Timothy R. Wojan, 2000. "The Composition of Rural Employment Growth in the “New Economy”," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(3), pages 594-605.
    4. David Mcgranahan & Timothy Wojan, 2007. "Recasting the Creative Class to Examine Growth Processes in Rural and Urban Counties," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(2), pages 197-216.
    5. repec:hoo:wpaper:e-95-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Richard Florida & Charlotta Mellander & Kevin Stolarick, 2008. "Inside the black box of regional development: human capital, the creative class and tolerance," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(5), pages 615-649, September.
    7. Jaison Abel & Todd Gabe, 2011. "Human Capital and Economic Activity in Urban America," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(8), pages 1079-1090.
    8. Edward J. Feser, 2003. "What Regions Do Rather than Make: A Proposed Set of Knowledge-based Occupation Clusters," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 40(10), pages 1937-1958, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Demography ; Labor supply ; Population ; Human capital ; Wages ; Rural areas ; Urban economics;

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