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The Rise of the Skilled City

  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Albert Saiz

For more than a century, educated cities have grown more quickly than comparable cities with less human capital. This fact survives a battery of other control variables, metropolitan area fixed effects and tests for reverse causality. We also find that skilled cities are growing because they are becoming more economically productive (relative to less skilled cities), not because these cities are becoming more attractive places to live. Most surprisingly, we find evidence suggesting that the skills-city growth connection occurs mainly in declining areas and occurs in large part because skilled cities are better at adapting to economic shocks. As in Schultz (1964), skills appear to permit adaptation.

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Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 2025.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:2025
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  1. 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.
  2. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt, 1996. "Crime, Urban Flight, and the Consequences for Cities," NBER Working Papers 5737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2004. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 155-189, March.
  5. Albert Saiz, 2003. "Immigration and housing rents in American cities," Working Papers 03-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  6. Simon, Curtis J., 1998. "Human Capital and Metropolitan Employment Growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 223-243, March.
  7. Lochner, L., 1999. "Education, Work, and Crime: Theory and Evidence," RCER Working Papers 465, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  8. Glaeser, E.L. & Scheinkman, J.A., 1993. "Economic Growth in a Cross-Section of Cities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1645, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
  10. Ed Glaeser & Jed Kolko & Albert Saiz, 2000. "Consumer City," NBER Working Papers 7790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. David Card, 1993. "Using Geographic Variation in College Proximity to Estimate the Return to Schooling," NBER Working Papers 4483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Rauch James E., 1993. "Productivity Gains from Geographic Concentration of Human Capital: Evidence from the Cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 380-400, November.
  13. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Smart Cities: Explaining the Relationship between City Growth and Human Capital," Urban/Regional 0309001, EconWPA.
  14. Jonathan Eaton & Zvi Eckstein, 1994. "Cities and Growth: Theory and Evidence from France and Japan," NBER Working Papers 4612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. No authors listed, 2001. "New Economy," Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - WuG, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik, vol. 27(1), pages 1-9.
  16. Joseph G. Altonji & David Card, 1989. "The Effects of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcomes of Natives," NBER Working Papers 3123, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Enrico Moretti, 2004. "Workers' Education, Spillovers, and Productivity: Evidence from Plant-Level Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 656-690, June.
  18. Joseph Altonji & David Card, 1989. "The Effects of Immigration on the Labor Market Outcome of Less-Skilled Natives," Working Papers 636, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  19. Gerald A. Carlino & Satyajit Chatterjee & Robert M. Hunt, 2001. "Knowledge spillovers and the new economy of cities," Working Papers 01-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  20. Duncan Black & Vernon Henderson, 1999. "A Theory of Urban Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 252-284, April.
  21. Glaeser, Edward L., 1994. "Why does schooling generate economic growth?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 333-337.
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