Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production
41 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2007
Date Written: October 1991
We examine the implications of local externalities in human capital investment for the size and composition of the productive labor force. The model links residential choice, skills acquisition, and production in a city composed of several communities. Peer effects induce self-segregation by occupation, whereas efficiency may require identical communities. Even when some asymmetry is optimal, equilibrium segregation can cause entire 'ghettos" to drop out of the labor force. Underemployment is more extensive. the easier it is for high-skill workers to isolate themselves from others. When perfect segregation is feasible, individual incentives to pursue it are self-defeating, and lead instead to a shutdown of the productive sector.
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