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Agglomeration, Labor Supply, and the Urban Rat Race

This paper establishes the existence of a previously overlooked relationship between agglomeration and hours worked. Among non-professionals, hours worked decrease with the density of workers in the same occupation. Among professionals, a positive relationship is found. This relationship is twice as strong for the young as for the middle-aged. Moreover, young professional hours worked are shown to be especially sensitive to the presence of rivals. We show that these patterns are consistent with the selection of hard workers into cities and the high productivity of agglomerated labor. The behavior of young professionals is also consistent with the presence of keen rivalry in larger markets, a kind of urban rat race. This evidence of a rat race is nearly unique in the literature.

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Paper provided by Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University in its series Center for Policy Research Working Papers with number 57.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2003
Handle: RePEc:max:cprwps:57
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  1. Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Kallal, Hedi D. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1992. "Growth in Cities," Scholarly Articles 3451309, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Fujita, Masahisa & Thisse, Jacques-François, 1996. "Economics of Agglomeration," CEPR Discussion Papers 1344, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Antonio Ciccone & Robert E. Hall, 1995. "Productivity and the density of economic activity," Economics Working Papers 120, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  4. Linda A. Bell & Richard B. Freeman, 2000. "The Incentive for Working Hard: Explaining Hours Worked Differences in the U.S. and Germany," NBER Working Papers 8051, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
  6. Stuart S. Rosenthal & William C. Strange, 2003. "Geography, Industrial Organization, and Agglomeration," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 56, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  7. Shulamit Kahn & Kevin Lang, 1988. "The Effects of Hours Constraints on Labor Supply Estimates," NBER Working Papers 2647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Edward L. Glaeser & David C. Mare, 1994. "Cities and Skills," NBER Working Papers 4728, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2004. "Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 49, pages 2119-2171 Elsevier.
  10. Henderson, Vernon & Kuncoro, Ari & Turner, Matt, 1995. "Industrial Development in Cities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(5), pages 1067-1090, October.
  11. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1988. "Reputation and Hierarchy in Dynamic Models of Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(4), pages 832-854, August.
  12. Adam B. Jaffe & Manuel Trajtenberg & Rebecca Henderson, 1993. "Geographic Localization of Knowledge Spillovers as Evidenced by Patent Citations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 577-598.
  13. George Akerlof, 1976. "The Economics of Caste and of the Rat Race and Other Woeful Tales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-617.
  14. Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-348, June.
  15. Edward E. Leamer, 1996. "Effort, Wages and the International Division of Labor," NBER Working Papers 5803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Wheaton, William C. & Lewis, Mark J., 2002. "Urban Wages and Labor Market Agglomeration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 542-562, May.
  17. MacDonald, Glenn M, 1988. "The Economics of Rising Stars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 155-166, March.
  18. Vernon Henderson, 2001. "Marshall's Scale Economies," Working Papers 01-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  19. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2001. "The Determinants of Agglomeration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 191-229, September.
  20. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-142, March.
  21. John M. Quigley, 1998. "Urban Diversity and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 127-138, Spring.
  22. Tom Lee & Louis L. Wilde, 1980. "Market Structure and Innovation: A Reformulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 94(2), pages 429-436.
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