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Smart Cities: Explaining the Relationship between City Growth and Human Capital

  • Jesse M. Shapiro

    (Harvard University)

From 1940 to 1990, a 10 percent increase in a metrpolitan area’s concentration of college-educated residents was associated with a .6 percent increase in subsequent employment growth. Using data on growth in wages and house values, I attempt to distinguish between explanations for this correlation based on local productivity growth, and explanations based on growth in local consumption amenities. Calibration of a city growth model suggests that roughly two-thirds of the growth effect of human capital is due to enhanced productivity growth, the rest being caused by growth in the quality of life. This contrasts with the standard argument that human capital generates growth in urban areas solely through local knowledge spillovers.

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File URL: http://econwpa.repec.org/eps/urb/papers/0309/0309001.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Urban/Regional with number 0309001.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: 04 Sep 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpur:0309001
Note: Type of Document - Acrobat PDF; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on HP; pages: 24 ; figures: included
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://econwpa.repec.org

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  1. Stuart A. Gabriel & Stuart S. Rosenthal, 2004. "Quality of the Business Environment Versus Quality of Life: Do Firms and Households Like the Same Cities?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 438-444, February.
  2. Cragg, Michael & Kahn, Matthew, 1997. "New Estimates of Climate Demand: Evidence from Location Choice," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 261-284, September.
  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. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
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  8. Edward L. Glaeser & Jesse M. Shapiro, 2003. "The Benefits of the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction," NBER Chapters, in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 17, pages 37-82 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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.
  10. Matthew E. Kahn, 2000. "Smog Reduction's Impact on California County Growth," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(3), pages 565-582.
  11. Simon, Curtis J., 1998. "Human Capital and Metropolitan Employment Growth," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 223-243, March.
  12. James M. Poterba, 1999. "The Rate of Return to Corporate Capital and Factor Shares: New EstimatesUsing Revised National Income Accounts and Capital Stock Data," NBER Working Papers 6263, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1999. "How Large are the Social Returns to Education? Evidence from Compulsory Schooling Laws," Working papers 99-30, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  14. Gyourko, Joseph & Tracy, Joseph, 1991. "The Structure of Local Public Finance and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 774-806, August.
  15. Moretti, Enrico, 2004. "Human capital externalities in cities," 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 51, pages 2243-2291 Elsevier.
  16. 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.
  17. Blomquist, Glenn C & Berger, Mark C & Hoehn, John P, 1988. "New Estimates of Quality of Life in Urban Areas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(1), pages 89-107, March.
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