Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1805086
 
 

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Cities, Skills, and Regional Change


Edward L. Glaeser


Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government, Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto


CREI - Universitat Pompeu Fabra

Kristina Tobio


Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

March 31, 2011

Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 2191

Abstract:     
One approach to urban areas emphasizes the existence of certain immutable relationships, such as Zipf's or Gibrat's Law. An alternative view is that urban change reflects individual responses to changing tastes or technologies. This paper examines almost 200 years of regional change in the U.S. and finds that few, if any, growth relationships remain constant, including Gibrat's Law. Education does a reasonable job of explaining urban resilience in recent decades, but does not seem to predict county growth a century ago. After reviewing this evidence, we present and estimate a simple model of regional change, where education increases the level of entrepreneurship. Human capital spillovers occur at the city level because skilled workers produce more product varieties and thereby increase labor demand. We find that skills are associated with growth in productivity or entrepreneurship, not with growth in quality of life, at least outside of the West. We also find that skills seem to have depressed housing supply growth in the West, but not in other regions, which supports the view that educated residents in that region have fought for tougher land-use controls. We also present evidence that skills have had a disproportionately large impact on unemployment during the current recession.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 65

Keywords: Gibrat, Urban, Entrepreneurship, Land-Use

JEL Classification: B25

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Date posted: April 12, 2011  

Suggested Citation

Glaeser, Edward L. and Ponzetto, Giacomo A. M. and Tobio, Kristina, Cities, Skills, and Regional Change (March 31, 2011). Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 2191. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1805086

Contact Information

Edward L. Glaeser (Contact Author)
Harvard University - John F. Kennedy School of Government, Department of Economics ( email )
Littauer Center
Room 315A
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2150 (Phone)
617-496-1722 (Fax)
Brookings Institution
1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20036-2188
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Giacomo A. M. Ponzetto
CREI - Universitat Pompeu Fabra ( email )
Ramon Trias Fargas, 25-27
Barcelona, 08005
Spain
+34 93 542 2829 (Phone)
+34 93 542 2826 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.crei.cat/people/ponzetto/welcome.html
Kristina Tobio
Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Feedback to SSRN


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