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Author:Wheeler, Christopher H. 

Working Paper
The economic performance of cities: a Markov-switching approach

This paper examines the determinants of employment growth in metro areas. To obtain growth rates, we use a Markov-switching model that separates a city?s growth path into two distinct phases (high and low), each with its own growth rate. The simple average growth rate over some period is, therefore, the weighted average of the high-phase and low-phase growth rates, with the weight being the frequency of the two phases. We estimate the effects of a variety of factors separately for the high-phase and low-phase growth rates, along with the frequency of the low phase. We find that growth in the ...
Working Papers , Paper 2006-056

Working Paper
Cities, skills, and inequality

The surge in U.S. wage inequality over the past several decades is now commonly attributed to an increase in the returns paid to skill. Although theories differ with respect to why, specifically, this increase has come about, many agree that it is strongly tied to the increase in the relative supply of skilled (i.e. highly educated) workers in the U.S. labor market. A greater supply of skilled labor, for example, may have induced skill-biased technological change or generated greater stratification of workers by skill across firms or jobs. Given that metropolitan areas in the U.S. have long ...
Working Papers , Paper 2004-020

Working Paper
Productivity and the geographic concentration of industry: the role of plant scale

A large body of research has established a positive connection between an industry's productivity and the magnitude of its presence within locally defined geographic areas. This paper examines the extent to which this relationship can be explained by a micro-level underpinning commonly associated with productivity: establishment scale. Looking at data on two-digit manufacturing across a sample of U.S. metropolitan areas, I find two primary results. First, average plant size - defined in terms of numbers of workers - increases substantially as an industry's employment in a metropolitan area ...
Working Papers , Paper 2004-024

Journal Article
Human capital growth in a cross section of U.S. metropolitan areas

Growth of human capital, defined as the change in the fraction of a metropolitan area's labor force with a bachelor's degree, is typically viewed as generating a number of desirable outcomes, including economic growth. Yet, in spite of its importance, few empirical studies have explored why some economies accumulate more human capital than others. This paper attempts to do so using a sample of more than 200 metropolitan areas in the United States over the years 1980, 1990, and 2000. The results reveal two consistently significant correlates of human capital growth: population and the existing ...
Review , Volume 88 , Issue Mar , Pages 113-132

Working Paper
Technology and industrial agglomeration: evidence from computer usage

Although the association between industrial agglomeration and productivity has been widely examined and documented, little work has explored the possibility that these `external' productivity shifts are the product of more advanced technologies. This paper offers a look at this hypothesis using data on individual-level computer usage across a sample of U.S. metropolitan areas over the years 1984, 1989, 1993, and 1997. The results indicate that, for a wide array of industries at the two-, three-, and four-digit SIC level, an industry's scale within a metropolitan area is positively associated ...
Working Papers , Paper 2005-016

Working Paper
Trends in the distributions of income and human capital within metropolitan areas: 1980-2000

Human capital tends to have significant external effects within local markets, increasing the average income of individuals within the same metropolitan area. However, evidence on both human capital spillovers and peer effects in neighborhoods suggests that these effects may be confined to relatively small areas. Hence, the distribution of income gains from average levels of human capital should depend on how that human capital is distributed throughout a city. This paper explores this issue by documenting the extent to which college graduates are residentially segregated across more than ...
Working Papers , Paper 2006-055

Working Paper
Human capital growth in a cross section of U.S. metropolitan areas

Human capital is typically viewed as generating a number of desirable outcomes, including economic growth. Yet, in spite of its importance, few empirical studies have explored why some economies accumulate more human capital than others. This paper attempts to do so using a sample of more than 200 metropolitan areas in the United States over the years 1980, 1990, and 2000. The results reveal two consistently significant correlates of human capital growth, defined as the change in a city*s rate of college completion: population and the existing stock of college-educated labor. Given that ...
Working Papers , Paper 2005-065

Working Paper
Local market scale and the pattern of job changes among young men

In finding a career, workers tend to make numerous job changes, with the majority of 'complex' changes (i.e. those involving changes of industry) occurring relatively early in their working lives. This pattern suggests that workers tend to experiment with different types of work before settling on the one they like best. Of course, since the extent of economic diversity differs substantially across local labor markets in the U.S. (e.g. counties and cities), this career search process may exhibit important differences depending on the size of a worker?s local market. This paper explores this ...
Working Papers , Paper 2005-033

Working Paper
Industry localization and earnings inequality: evidence from U.S. manufacturing

While the productivity gains associated with the geographic concentration of industry (i.e. localization) are by now well-documented, little work has considered how those gains are distributed across individual workers. This paper offers evidence on the connection between total employment and the relative wage earnings of high- and low-skill workers (i.e. inequality) within two-digit manufacturing industries across the states and a collection of metropolitan areas in the U.S. between 1970 and 1990. Using two different measures - 90-10 percentile gaps in both overall and residual wages - I ...
Working Papers , Paper 2004-023

Journal Article
Changing trends in the labor force: a survey

The composition of the American workforce has changed dramatically over the past half century as a result of both the emergence of married women as a substantial component of the labor force and an increase in the number of minority workers. The aging of the population has contributed to this change as well. In this paper, the authors review the evidence of changing labor force participation rates, estimate the trends in labor force participation over the past 50 years, and find that aggregate participation has stabilized after a period of persistent increases. Moreover, they examine the ...
Review , Volume 90 , Issue Jan , Pages 47-62

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