Job Market Paper
Abstract: What are the benefits of working in geographic proximity to educated workers? This paper explores human capital spillovers across neighborhoods. I first show that college-educated and non-college workers tend to work in the same Census tracts. I then investigate whether workers benefit from having other high-skill workers or low-skill workers nearby. Using an OLS specification and structurally estimating an economic geography model, I find a positive spillover effect of nearby college workers but a negative effect of nearby non-college workers on a worker's income. Both spillover effects decay very quickly, having no effect beyond 3 miles. This suggests that human capital spillover benefits occur at a very local level. Using the estimates from my model, I conduct counterfactual exercises to assess the benefits of a Los Angeles policy that re-zones neighborhoods to increase workplace density and replace warehouses with office spaces. The exercise shows that policies increasing density of college jobs provide benefit to both the targeted and surrounding areas, suggesting an important margin for urban policymakers to influence worker productivity in local areas.
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