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Cities and Growth: The Left Brain of North American Cities: Scientists and Engineers and Urban Growth

  • Brown, W. Mark
  • Beckstead, Desmond
  • Gellatly, Guy

This paper examines the growth of human capital in Canadian and U.S. cities. Using pooled Census of Population data for 242 urban centres, we evaluate the link between long run employment growth and the supply of different types of skilled labour. The paper also examines whether the scientific capabilities of cities are influenced by amenities such as the size of the local cultural sector. The first part of the paper investigates the contribution of broad and specialized forms of human capital to long-run employment growth. We differentiate between employed degree holders (a general measure of human capital) and degree holders employed in science and cultural occupations (specific measures of human capital). Our growth models investigate long-run changes in urban employment from 1980 to 2000, and control for other factors that have been posited to influence the growth of cities. These include estimates of the amenities that proxy differences in the attractiveness of urban areas. The second part of the paper focuses specifically on a particular type of human capital'degree holders in science and engineering occupations. Our models evaluate the factors associated with the medium- and long-run growth of these occupations. Particular attention is placed on disentangling the relationships between science and engineering growth and other forms of human capital.

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Paper provided by Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis in its series The Canadian Economy in Transition with number 2008017e.

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Date of creation: 08 Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:stc:stcp1e:2008017e
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  1. Brown, W. Mark & Beckstead, Desmond, 2006. "Innovation Capabilities: Comparing Science and Engineering Employment in Canadian and U.S. Cities," The Canadian Economy in Transition 2006012e, Statistics Canada, Economic Analysis.
  2. 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.
  3. Edward L. Glaeser & Jed Kolko & Albert Saiz, 2000. "Consumer City," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1901, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Albert Saiz, 2003. "The rise of the skilled city," Working Papers 04-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  5. Jesse M. Shapiro, 2006. "Smart Cities: Quality of Life, Productivity, and the Growth Effects of Human Capital," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 324-335, May.
  6. John M. Quigley, 1998. "Urban Diversity and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 127-138, Spring.
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