Monday, November 10, 2014

How will education impact location choices?

Women have been outpacing men in degrees earned for several years now. As the graphs below show, women earn more bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctorates than men do (click on graphs to enlarge).

It will be interesting to see what impact this has on the labor force, child bearing, and location choices in the future. Married couples in which both individuals have a bachelor's degree or more are called "power couples" in the economics literature and there is strong evidence that power couples are more likely than other couples to locate in the largest and most educated cities. As power couple formation increases will these effects hold up? Or will they diminish as more and more power couples are formed? 

Even though women are outpacing men when it comes to degrees earned, both groups are getting more educated over time. My research shows that a bachelor's or advanced degree increases the probability that a person will locate in a central city within a metropolitan statistical area. As more people earn degrees it could mean more city living. Or perhaps the effect dissipates as more people earn degrees. There is evidence that a bachelor's or advanced degree has a causal effect on locating in a city, which means the effect of education is unlikely to disappear over time. If that is true it means that we should see a larger proportion of people living in cities in the future, all else equal. I am looking forward to seeing whether or not this is true as the data becomes available.

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