University of Illinois at Chicago
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The Impact of City Size on Occupational Wages and Migration

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posted on 2016-10-18, 00:00 authored by Zhao Gu
This dissertation studies the economic phenomenon of city size at the occupation level, focusing on two topics. The first topic is the relationship between city size and wage. According to agglomeration economy theories, workers engaged in some occupations tend to spatially cluster in big cities whereas some others are more likely to locate in smaller areas. As various occupations show different patterns with respect to city size, it is interesting to discover how the city size influences the wages at the occupation level. Besides a comprehensive descriptive analysis on wage and city size for each individual occupation, two counterfactual experiments are constructed by leveraging probabilistic modeling to quantify the effects of city size on wages for each occupation. In addition, a regression model is introduced to fully understand what characteristics associated with occupation lead to the wage premium. The second topic is to explore the relationship between migration and city size. With a thorough data analysis over migration and metropolitan population for each individual occupation, it is found that workers from different occupations have diverse migration patterns. Thus, a comprehensive study on migration is conducted by dividing occupations into three categories: occupations attracted to large cities, occupations preferred to stay in small areas and the rest. Furthermore, a number of key attributes related to occupation are examined in order to understand why various occupations differ significantly in terms of migration. The model identifies that average education level, industry coverage and average residential population are three statistically significant attributes on the tendency of migrating to large metropolitan areas.



Persky, Joseph



Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Committee Member

Roberts, Helen Karras, George Stokes, Houston Tilahun, Nebiyou

Submitted date



  • en

Issue date


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