Will Workers Disperse From Cities?

This pattern reflects that in the last few decades, a substantial part of economic dynamism, productivity growth, and wage growth has been happening in the larger cities. As Rubinton notes: 

At the same time, large and small cities have diverged on several important dimensions: Large cities increasingly have a more educated workforce and offer higher wage premiums for skilled workers. Given that dynamism is important for productivity and economic growth, the differential changes in dynamism across cities could be important to understanding the divergence in wages and skill-composition between large and small cities. ... [T]hese patterns are consistent with competition becoming tougher in large cities relative to small cities. Large cities have become more congested than they were in 1980: As population has grown and technology has improved, rents and wages have increased. Less-productive firms that cannot afford the higher prices are more likely to exit, leaving room for new firms to enter.

Maybe the aftereffects of the pandemic will change all this. I tend to believe that some of the shift to telecommuting in this last year will persist. But I'm also very aware that predictions about how jobs "can potentially be shifted back to network-connected, computer-equipped, suburban or even rural homes" have been around for decades. Yet downtown business districts and other clusters of economic activity continue to persist and grow, which suggests strong underlying economic forces at work. 

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