SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

Human capital studies in economic geography are dominated by themes associated with the following: (i) the creative class and (ii) skilled individuals' role in innovation spillovers. Both literatures highlight the efficacy of urban and regional agglomerations in creative and innovation activities through retention of the skilled and their knowledge production. They also favor large or Sunbelt cities while painting a dismal picture for smaller or uncool Rustbelt cities with significant implications for inter-urban inequality. In this paper, we compare the human capital level of Sunbelt and Rustbelt cities. We find that Rustbelt cities are experiencing a brain gain that reflects the relocation and retention of college-educated immigrants and natives in the region. Furthermore, skill ratios are higher in most Rustbelt than Sunbelt cities. We argue for a human capital narrative that is more spatially expansive, and that includes the effect of both skilled immigrants and natives on urban development.