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ABSTRACT

This paper investigates how the geographic distribution of human capital—measured as college attainment—evolves over time. With U.S. data, I decompose generation-to-generation changes in local human capital into three factors: the previous generation's human capital, intergenerational transmission of skills from parents to their children, and migration of the children. I find significant persistence of local skills at the commuting zone (local labor market) level. Labor market size, climate, and local colleges affect local skill measures. Skills move from urban-to-rural labor markets through intergenerational transmission but from rural-to-urban labor markets through migration.