THE GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OF HUMAN CAPITAL: MEASUREMENT OF CONTRIBUTING MECHANISMS

Authors


  • I am grateful to Joe Altonji, Fabian Lange, Pat Kline, and Melissa Tartari for advice about my research. For additional helpful comments, I thank Matt Johnson, Lisa Kahn, Philip Oreopoulos, Paul Schultz, several anonymous referees, and seminar participants at the College of William and Mary, University of Kentucky, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Federal Trade Commission, Yale University, and the Society of Labor Economists 2009 meetings.

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.

Ancillary