Skip to main content
No Access

Spatial Sorting

We investigate the role of skill complementarities in production and mobility across cities. The nature of the complementarities determines the equilibrium skill distribution across cities. With extreme-skill complementarity, the skill distribution has thicker tails in large cities; with top-skill complementarity, there is first-order stochastic dominance. Using wage and housing price data, we find robust evidence of thick tails in large cities: large cities disproportionately attract both high- and low-skilled workers, while average skills are constant across city size. This pattern of spatial sorting is consistent with extreme-skill complementarity, where the productivity of high-skilled workers and of the providers of low-skilled services are mutually enhanced.