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Human capital sorting : The “when” and “who” of the sorting of educated workers to urban regions

Ahlin, Lina LU ; Andersson, Martin LU and Thulin, Per (2018) In Journal of Regional Science 58(3). p.581-610
Abstract

The sorting of high-ability workers is often advanced as one source of spatial disparities in economic outcomes. There are still few papers that analyze when human capital sorting occurs and whom it involves. Using data on 16 cohorts of university graduates in Sweden, we demonstrate significant sorting to urban regions on high school grades and education levels of parents, i.e., two attributes typically associated with latent abilities that are valued in the labor market. A large part of this sorting has already occurred in deciding where to study, because the top universities in Sweden are predominantly located in urban regions. The largest part of directed sorting on ability indicators occurs in the decision of where to study. Even... (More)

The sorting of high-ability workers is often advanced as one source of spatial disparities in economic outcomes. There are still few papers that analyze when human capital sorting occurs and whom it involves. Using data on 16 cohorts of university graduates in Sweden, we demonstrate significant sorting to urban regions on high school grades and education levels of parents, i.e., two attributes typically associated with latent abilities that are valued in the labor market. A large part of this sorting has already occurred in deciding where to study, because the top universities in Sweden are predominantly located in urban regions. The largest part of directed sorting on ability indicators occurs in the decision of where to study. Even after controlling for sorting prior to labor market entry, the “best and brightest” are still more likely to start working in urban regions. However, this effect appears to be driven by Sweden's main metropolitan region, Stockholm. We find no influence of our ability indicators on the probability of starting to work in urban regions after graduation when Stockholm is excluded. Studies of human capital sorting need to account for selection processes to and from universities, because neglecting mobility prior to labor market entry is likely to lead to an underestimation of the extent of the sorting to urban regions.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
ability, geography of talent, human capital, labor mobility, migration, spatial selection, spatial sorting, university graduates
in
Journal of Regional Science
volume
58
issue
3
pages
30 pages
publisher
Halifax
external identifiers
  • scopus:85048331478
ISSN
0022-4146
DOI
10.1111/jors.12366
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a208e721-13fe-4b3f-a944-46f013f3225a
date added to LUP
2018-06-26 15:47:44
date last changed
2019-04-21 05:15:22
@article{a208e721-13fe-4b3f-a944-46f013f3225a,
  abstract     = {<p>The sorting of high-ability workers is often advanced as one source of spatial disparities in economic outcomes. There are still few papers that analyze when human capital sorting occurs and whom it involves. Using data on 16 cohorts of university graduates in Sweden, we demonstrate significant sorting to urban regions on high school grades and education levels of parents, i.e., two attributes typically associated with latent abilities that are valued in the labor market. A large part of this sorting has already occurred in deciding where to study, because the top universities in Sweden are predominantly located in urban regions. The largest part of directed sorting on ability indicators occurs in the decision of where to study. Even after controlling for sorting prior to labor market entry, the “best and brightest” are still more likely to start working in urban regions. However, this effect appears to be driven by Sweden's main metropolitan region, Stockholm. We find no influence of our ability indicators on the probability of starting to work in urban regions after graduation when Stockholm is excluded. Studies of human capital sorting need to account for selection processes to and from universities, because neglecting mobility prior to labor market entry is likely to lead to an underestimation of the extent of the sorting to urban regions.</p>},
  author       = {Ahlin, Lina and Andersson, Martin and Thulin, Per},
  issn         = {0022-4146},
  keyword      = {ability,geography of talent,human capital,labor mobility,migration,spatial selection,spatial sorting,university graduates},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {06},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {581--610},
  publisher    = {Halifax},
  series       = {Journal of Regional Science},
  title        = {Human capital sorting : The “when” and “who” of the sorting of educated workers to urban regions},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jors.12366},
  volume       = {58},
  year         = {2018},
}