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City Air or City Markets: Productivity Gains in Urban Areas

Author

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  • Krupka, Douglas J.

    (University of Michigan)

Abstract

Persistent productivity gains to rural-urban migrants have been documented by a number of researchers. One interpretation of this result is that individuals learn higher value skills in cities than they would have learned in less dense areas. Another explanation for this result, however, is that thicker urban labor markets allow for better matches, which are realized slowly through a process of subsequent job searches. Surprisingly, there has been no empirical test of these two interpretations to this date. This paper uses NLSY79 geocode data to assess whether wage growth of urban workers is due primarily to time spent in the urban environment (and thus learning), or job changes. The evidence suggests that both these processes are probably at work.

Suggested Citation

  • Krupka, Douglas J., 2007. "City Air or City Markets: Productivity Gains in Urban Areas," IZA Discussion Papers 3230, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3230
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Charlot, Sylvie & Duranton, Gilles, 2004. "Communication externalities in cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 581-613, November.
    2. Helsley, Robert W. & Strange, William C., 1990. "Matching and agglomeration economies in a system of cities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 189-212, September.
    3. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-499, June.
    4. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Lovely, Mary E., 1996. "Scale economies, returns to variety, and the productivity of public infrastructure," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 105-123, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Winters, John V., 2009. "Wages and prices: Are workers fully compensated for cost of living differences?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 632-643, September.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    productivity; agglomeration economies; urban wage premium; matching; learning;

    JEL classification:

    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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