Understanding the city size wage gap
In 2000, wages of full time full year workers were more than 30 percent higher in metropolitan areas of over 1.5 million people than rural areas. The monotonic relationship between wages and city size is robust to controls for age, schooling and labor market experience. In this paper, we decompose the city size wage gap into various components. We propose an on-the-job search model that incorporates latent ability, search frictions, firm-worker match quality, human capital accumulation and endogenous migration between large, medium and small cities. Counterfactual simulations of the model indicate that variation in returns to experience and differences in wage intercepts across location type are the most important mechanisms contributing to the overall city size wage premium. Steeper returns to experience in larger cities is more important for college graduates while differences in wage intercepts is more important for high school graduates. Sorting on unobserved ability within education group and differences in labor market search frictions and distributions of firm-worker match quality contribute little or slightly negatively to observed city size wage premia in both samples.
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- Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Stephen J. Redding & Daniel M. Sturm & Nikolaus Wolf, 2012.
"The Economics of Density: Evidence from the Berlin Wall,"
SERC Discussion Papers
0118, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
- Ahlfeldt, Gabriel & Redding, Stephen J. & Sturm, Daniel M & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2014. "The Economics of Density: Evidence from the Berlin Wall," CEPR Discussion Papers 10097, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Stephen J. Redding & Daniel M. Sturm & Nikolaus Wolf, 2014. "The Economics of Density: Evidence from the Berlin Wall," NBER Working Papers 20354, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Stephen J. Redding & Daniel M. Sturm & Nikolaus Wolf, 2012. "The Economics of Density: Evidence from the Berlin Wall," CEP Discussion Papers dp1154, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
- Sturm, Daniel & Ahlfeldt, Gabriel & Redding, Stephen & Wolf, Nikolaus, 2013. "The Economics of Density: Evidence from the Berlin Wall," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79873, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
- Gabriel M. Ahlfeldt & Stephen J. Redding & Daniel Sturm & Nikolaus Wolf, 2012. "The economics of density: evidence from the Berlin wall," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58600, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
- Alessia Matano & Paolo Naticchioni, 2009. "Wage distribution and the spatial sorting of workers and firms," Working Papers - Dipartimento di Economia 8-DEISFOL, Dipartimento di Economia, Sapienza University of Rome, revised 2009.
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