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SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper

Ambition, Human Capital Acquisition and the Metropolitan Escalator


This paper examines the relation between ambition, as a form of dynamic human capital, and the escalator role of high order metropolitan regions, as originally identified by Fielding (1989). It argues that occupational progression in such places particularly depends on concentrations both of people with more of this asset and of jobs offering preferential access to valued elements of tacit knowledge, interacting in thick, competitive labour markets. This is partially confirmed with analyses of BHPS data on long term progression showing that only the more ambitious gain from residence in the extended London region, and that they only progress faster there.


Ian Gordon

4 May 2012     Paper Number SERCDP0107

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This SERC/Urban and Spatial Programme Discussion Paper is published under the centre's Urban programme.