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How far do England’s second-order cities emulate London as human-capital ‘escalators’?

Champion, Tony, Coombes, Mike and Gordon, Ian R. (2013) How far do England’s second-order cities emulate London as human-capital ‘escalators’? SERC Discussion Papers (SERCDP0132). Spatial Economics Research Centre (SERC), London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK.

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Abstract

In the urban resurgence accompanying the growth of the knowledge economy, second-order cities appear to be losing out to the principal city, especially where the latter is much larger and benefits from substantially greater agglomeration economies. The view that any city can make itself attractive to creative talent seems at odds with the idea of a country having just one ‘escalator region’ where the rate of career progression is much faster, especially for in-migrants. This paper takes the case of England, with its highly primate city-size distribution, and tests how its second- order cities (in size order, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Bristol, Sheffield, Liverpool, Nottingham and Leicester) compare with London as human- capital escalators. The analysis is based on the ONS Longitudinal Study of linked census records, primarily for 1991-2001, and uses one key indicator of upward social mobility, the transition from White Collar Non-core to White Collar Core. For non- migrants, the transition rates for all the second-order cities are found to fall well short of London’s. In only one case – Manchester – is the rate significantly higher than the average for other areas outside the Greater South East (GSE) and its performance is matched by the non-London part of the GSE. Those moving to the second-order cities during the decade experienced much stronger upward social mobility than their non-migrants. This ‘migrant premium’ was generally similar to that for London, suggesting that it results from people moving only after they have secured a better job. If so, second-order cities cannot rely on the speculative migration of talented people but need suitable jobs ready for them to access.

Item Type: Monograph (Discussion Paper)
Official URL: http://www.spatialeconomics.ac.uk/SERC/publication...
Additional Information: © 2013 The Authors
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Spatial Economics Research Centre
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J2 - Time Allocation, Work Behavior, and Employment Determination and Creation; Human Capital; Retirement > J24 - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J6 - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies > J61 - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J6 - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies > J62 - Job, Occupational, and Intergenerational Mobility
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R2 - Household Analysis > R23 - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Research centres and groups > Spatial Economics Research Centre
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2014 14:18
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2019 03:44
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), Welsh Assembly Government
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/58447

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