Human Capital Spillovers and the Geography of Intergenerational Mobility

Awarded Scholars:
Brant Abbott, Yale University
Giovanni Gallipoli, University of British Columbia
Project Date:
Dec 2014
Award Amount:

Co-funded with the MacArthur Foundation

Persistent differences in intergenerational mobility have been documented both across countries and across U.S. commuting zones. Variation in mobility is correlated with variables such as inequality and education policies, yet little is known about the reasons for different patterns of inequality, mobility and redistribution across locations.

Economists Brant Abbott and Giovanni Gallipoli suggest that variation in human capital spillovers, or skill complementarity, may explain some of the observed variation in the location-specific intergenerational elasticity of earnings (IGE) and related variables. They argue that variation in the way workers’ skills are used, and rewarded, may induce differences in long-term human capital investments, social incentives for redistribution and intergenerational mobility. Their new project seeks to develop and construct measures of skill spillovers and other relevant variables for U.S. regions and for different countries, and to develop and estimate a quantitative model of the relationship between intergenerational mobility and human capital spillovers.


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