46th Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Enlargement, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean", August 30th - September 3rd, 2006, Volos, Greece
In this paper I analyze the impact of initial human capital on subsequent city employment growth for the case of West Germany (1977-2002). I find robust evidence that skilled local areas have grown stronger than unskilled ones. But this observed positive relation need not indicate a localized human capital externality. A large initial share of highly skilled workers significantly reduces subsequent growth of high-skilled jobs. The observed positive impact on total employment growth is, thus, due to the fact that the positive effect on low- and medium-skilled jobs outweighs the negative effect on high-skilled employment. This evidence is in line with complementarities among skill groups as the major causal link between human capital and regional employment growth. It challenges theories of self-reinforcing spatial concentration of highly skilled workers in cities due to strong localized external effects.