The Complementarity between Cities and Skills

30 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2009 Last revised: 14 Jul 2009

See all articles by Edward L. Glaeser

Edward L. Glaeser

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Brookings Institution; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Matthew Resseger

Harvard University - Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences

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Date Written: June 2009

Abstract

There is a strong connection between per worker productivity and metropolitan area population, which is commonly interpreted as evidence for the existence of agglomeration economies. This correlation is particularly strong in cities with higher levels of skill and virtually non-existent in less skilled metropolitan areas. This fact is particularly compatible with the view that urban density is important because proximity spreads knowledge, which either makes workers more skilled or entrepreneurs more productive. Bigger cities certainly attract more skilled workers, and there is some evidence suggesting that human capital accumulates more quickly in urban areas.

Suggested Citation

Glaeser, Edward L. and Resseger, Matthew, The Complementarity between Cities and Skills (June 2009). NBER Working Paper No. w15103. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1426454

Edward L. Glaeser (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Matthew Resseger

Harvard University - Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences ( email )

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