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CEP/Geography Urban and Regional Economics Seminars

Tasks, cities and urban wage premia

Anja Grujovic (CEMFI)

Friday 19 June 2020 13:00 - 14:30


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About this event

Combining rich administrative data for Germany with representative workforce surveys, I find that job task content is robustly predictive of differences in urban wage premia across otherwise observationally equivalent individuals. Based on this, I propose a model where productive advantages of cities are inherently task-specific. Workers of higher ability have a comparative advantage in the tasks whose production benefits the most from urban spillovers. In equilibrium, bigger cities generate larger externalities for more able agents and urban wage premia is skill-biased. I estimate the model using German worker panel data on 336 districts, 331 occupations, 3 education categories and 3 tasks. I find that one standard deviation increase in abstract task intensity is associated with a 0.3 percentage point increase in the elasticity of earnings with respect to population size. Differences in task-specific urban wage premia remain significant even after controlling for skill premia of larger cities.

Participants are expected to adhere to the CEP Events Code of Conduct.

Urban and Regional Economics Seminars are part of the CEP's Urban and spatial programme.