Down from the Mountain: Skill Upgrading and Wages in Appalachia

65 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2009

See all articles by Christopher R. Bollinger

Christopher R. Bollinger

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics

James P. Ziliak

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics

Kenneth R. Troske

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics; University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Abstract

Despite evidence that skilled labor is increasingly concentrated in cities, whether regional wage inequality is predominantly due to differences in skill levels or returns is unknown. We compare Appalachia, with its wide mix of urban and rural areas, to other parts of the U.S., and find that gaps in both skill levels and returns account for the lack of high wage male workers. For women, skill shortages are important across the distribution. Because rural wage gaps are insignificant, our results suggest that widening wage inequality between Appalachia and the rest of the U.S. owes to a shortage of skilled cities.

Keywords: wage inequality, region

JEL Classification: J31, J4

Suggested Citation

Bollinger, Christopher R. and Ziliak, James P. and Troske, Kenneth R., Down from the Mountain: Skill Upgrading and Wages in Appalachia. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4249, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1426736

Christopher R. Bollinger (Contact Author)

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

James P. Ziliak

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

Kenneth R. Troske

University of Kentucky - Department of Economics ( email )

Lexington, KY 40506
United States

University of Missouri at Columbia - Department of Economics ( email )

118 Professional Building
Columbia, MO 65211
United States
573-882-4229 (Phone)
573-882-2697 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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