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Geography and high-tech employment growth in U.S. counties

Fallah, Belal and Partridge, Mark (2012): Geography and high-tech employment growth in U.S. counties.

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Abstract

This paper investigates the role of geography in high-tech employment growth across U.S. counties. The geographic dimensions examined include industry cluster effects, urbanization effects, proximity to a research university, and proximity in the urban hierarchy. Growth is assessed for overall high-tech employment and for employment in various high-tech sub-sectors. Econometric analyses are conducted separately for samples of metropolitan and nonmetropolitan counties. Among our primary findings, we do not find evidence of positive localization or within-industry cluster growth effects, generally finding negative growth effects. We instead find evidence of positive urbanization effects and growth penalties for greater distances from larger urban areas. Universities also appear to play their primary role in creating human capital rather than knowledge spillovers for nearby firms. Quantile regression analysis confirms the absence of within-industry cluster effects and importance of human capital for counties with fast growth in high-tech industries.

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