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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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10191.

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Date of creation: Dec 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Glaeser, Edward L. and Albert Saiz. “The Rise of the Skilled City." Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs 5 (2004): 47-94.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10191
Note: EFG
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  1. Glaeser, Edward L., 1994. "Why does schooling generate economic growth?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 44(3), pages 333-337.
  2. Ed Glaeser & Jed Kolko & Albert Saiz, 2000. "Consumer City," NBER Working Papers 7790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser & Jose A. Scheinkman & Andrei Shleifer, 1995. "Economic Growth in a Cross-Section of Cities," NBER Working Papers 5013, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt, 1999. "Crime, Urban Flight, And The Consequences For Cities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 159-169, May.
  9. 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..
  10. 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.
  11. Simon, Curtis J., 1998. "Human Capital and Metropolitan Employment Growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 223-243, March.
  12. Lochner, L., 1999. "Education, Work, and Crime: Theory and Evidence," RCER Working Papers 465, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  13. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2001. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," NBER Working Papers 8598, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "Smart Cities: Explaining the Relationship between City Growth and Human Capital," Urban/Regional 0309001, EconWPA.
  15. Albert Saiz, 2003. "Immigration and housing rents in American cities," Working Papers 03-12, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  16. Gerald A. Carlino & Satyajit Chatterjee & Robert Hunt, 2001. "Knowledge spillovers and the new economy of cities," Working Papers 01-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  17. Enrico Moretti, 2002. "Estimating the Social Return to Higher Education: Evidence From Longitudinal and Repeated Cross-Sectional Data," NBER Working Papers 9108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Lance Lochner & Enrico Moretti, 2001. "The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests, and Self-Reports," NBER Working Papers 8605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
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