The Geographic Distribution of Human Capital: Measurement of Contributing Mechanisms

34 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2014

See all articles by Peter McHenry

Peter McHenry

William & Mary; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: March 2014

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.

Suggested Citation

McHenry, Peter, The Geographic Distribution of Human Capital: Measurement of Contributing Mechanisms (March 2014). Journal of Regional Science, Vol. 54, Issue 2, pp. 215-248, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2404134 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jors.12067

Peter McHenry (Contact Author)

William & Mary ( email )

PO Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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