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Jel Classification:R23 

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Population aging, migration spillovers, and the decline in interstate migration

We investigate the role of the aging of the U.S. population in the decline in interstate migration since the mid-1980s. Using an instrumental variables strategy on cross-state data, we show that an aging workforce causes the migration rates of all age groups in a state to drop. This demonstrates that the effect of aging on migration includes indirect effects that go beyond the direct effect of raising the workforce share of groups with lower migration rates. We then develop an island model in which firms can hire workers either locally or from other locations, and show that an aging ...
Staff Reports , Paper 699

Report
Shared knowledge and the coagglomeration of occupations

This paper provides an empirical analysis of the extent to which people in different occupations locate near one another, or coagglomerate. We construct pairwise Ellison-Glaeser coagglomeration indices for U.S. occupations and use these measures to investigate the factors influencing the geographic concentration of occupations. The analysis is conducted separately at the metropolitan area and state levels of geography. Empirical results reveal that occupations with similar knowledge requirements tend to coagglomerate and that the importance of this shared knowledge is larger in metropolitan ...
Staff Reports , Paper 612

Report
Geographical reallocation and unemployment during the Great Recession: the role of the housing bust

This paper quantitatively evaluates the hypothesis that the housing bust in 2007 decreased geographical reallocation and increased the dispersion and level of unemployment during the Great Recession. We construct an equilibrium model of multiple locations with frictional housing and labor markets. When house prices fall, the amount of home equity declines, making it harder for homeowners to afford the down payment on a new house after moving. Consequently, the decline in house prices reduces migration and causes unemployment to rise differently in different locations. The model accounts for ...
Staff Reports , Paper 605

Working Paper
The Return to Big City Experience: Evidence from Danish Refugees

We offer causal evidence of higher returns to experience in big cities. Exploiting a natural experiment that settled political refugees across labor markets in Denmark between 1986 and 1998, we find that while refugees initially earn similar wages across locations, those placed in Copenhagen exhibit 35% faster wage growth with each additional year of experience. This gap is driven primarily by differential sorting towards high-wage establishments, occupations, and industries. An estimated spatial model of earnings dynamics attributes an important role to unobserved worker ability: more able ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 24

Working Paper
Location as an Asset

The location of individuals determines their job opportunities, living amenities, and housing costs. We argue that it is useful to conceptualize the location choice of individuals as a decision to invest in a ?location asset?. This asset has a cost equal to the location?s rent, and a payoff through better job opportunities and, potentially, more human capital for the individual and her children. As with any asset, savers in the location asset transfer resources into the future by going to expensive locations with good future opportunities. In contrast, borrowers transfer resources to the ...
Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers , Paper 12

Report
Pay with Promises or Pay as You Go? Lessons from the Death Spiral of Detroit

As part of compensation, municipal employees typically receive promises of future benefits. Motivated by the recent bankruptcy of Detroit, we develop a model of the equilibrium size of a city and use it to analyze how pay-with-promises schemes interact with city growth. The paper examines the circumstances under which a death spiral arises, where cutbacks of city services and increases in taxes lead to an exodus of residents, compounding financial distress. The model is put to work to analyze issues such as the welfare effects of having cities absorb pension risk and how unions affect the ...
Staff Report , Paper 501

Working Paper
Of Cities and Slums

The emergence of slums is a common feature in a country's path towards urbanization, structural transformation and development. Based on salient micro and macro evidence of Brazilian labor, housing and education markets, we construct a simple model to examine the conditions for slums to emerge. We then use the model to examine whether slums are barriers or stepping stones for lower skilled households and for the development of the country as a whole. We calibrate our model to explore the dynamic interaction between skill formation, income inequality and structural transformation with the rise ...
Working Papers , Paper 2016-22

Working Paper
Trade and Labor Market Dynamics: General Equilibrium Analysis of the China Trade Shock

We develop a dynamic trade model with spatially distinct labor markets facing varying exposure to international trade. The model captures the role of labor mobility frictions, goods mobility frictions, geographic factors, and input-output linkages in determining equilibrium allocations. We show how to solve the equilibrium of the model and take the model to the data without assuming that the economy is at a steady state and without estimating productivities, migration frictions, or trade costs, which can be difficult to identify. We calibrate the model to 22 sectors, 38 countries, and 50 U.S. ...
Working Papers , Paper 2015-9

Working Paper
Freeway Revolts!

Freeway revolts were widespread protests across the U.S. following early urban Interstate construction in the mid-1950s. We present theory and evidence from panel data on neighborhoods and travel behavior to show that diminished quality of life from freeway disamenities inspired the revolts, a?ected the allocation of freeways within cities, and changed city structure. First, actual freeway construction diverged from initial plans in the wake of the growing freeway revolts and subsequent policy responses, especially in central neighborhoods. Second, freeways caused slower growth in population, ...
Working Papers , Paper 19-29

Working Paper
Distance and Decline: The Case of Petersburg, Virginia

Petersburg, Virginia, prospered over two centuries as a center of production and trade. However, the city experienced economic difficulties beginning in the 1980s as a large number of layoffs at production plants in the area coincided with an erosion of retail trade in the city. Prolonged economic decline followed. In contrast, somewhat similar shocks in other moderate-sized cities in Virginia were followed by gradual economic recovery. We examine these differing outcomes and offer an explanation that hinges on the proximity of Petersburg to its larger neighbor, the greater Richmond area. We ...
Working Paper , Paper 18-16

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