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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 ...
A tractable city model for aggregative analysis
An analytically tractable city model with external increasing returns is presented. The equilibrium city structure is either monocentric or decentralized. Regardless of which structure prevails, intracity variation in endogenous variables displays exponential decay from the city center, where the decay rates depend only on parameters. Given population, the equilibrium of the model is generically unique. Tractability permits explicit expressions for when a central business district (CBD) will emerge in equilibrium, how external increasing returns affect the steepness of downtown rent ...
Urban Growth Shadows
Does a location's growth benefit or suffer from being geographically close to large economic centers? Spatial proximity may lead to competition and hurt growth, but it may also generate positive spillovers and enhance growth. Using data on U.S. counties and metro areas for the period 1840?2017, we document this tradeoff between urban shadows and urban spillovers. Proximity to large urban centers was negatively associated with growth from 1840 to 1920, and positively associated with growth after 1920. Using a two-city spatial equilibrium model with intra-city and inter-city commuting, we show ...