Falck, Oliver Fritsch, Michael Heblich, Stephan Otto, Anne
Year of Publication:
CESifo Working Paper No. 5183
If being around smart people makes us smarter and more productive, what can regions do to attract smart people? This paper considers endogenous cultural amenities as a location factor for high-skilled workers. To overcome selection in the provision of cultural amenities, we exploit the variation in contemporaneous cultural amenities stemming from baroque opera houses in Germany that emerged during a time when the decision for an opera house was mainly determined by the ruler's preferences and rarely by funding constraints. To assess spillovers from high-skilled workers attracted by cultural amenities, we use a 1-percent sample drawn from the population of all West German workers under social security during the period 1975-2010. This panel of individual observations allows us to compare wages of similar individuals who work in locations with different levels of high-skilled workers who are attracted by cultural amenities. To account for non-random selection of workers among cities, we use individual-location fixed effects. Our results show that cultural amenities are an important factor in the location decision of high-skilled workers. The positive effect of the local share of high-skilled workers on unskilled, skilled and high-skilled wages indicates strong and productive spillovers.
cultural amenities social returns higher education