By investing in urban amenities, city-level policies often aim to attract highly skilled workers. However, studies relying on revealed preferences struggle to provide causal evidence that skilled workers value urban amenities more than less skilled workers. Therefore, we use a stated-preference experiment with hypothetical job choices between two cities that differ in wages, urban amenities and economic dynamism. We find that respondents are willing to forgo a significant fraction of their wages for better urban amenities. Most strikingly, preferences do not differ systematically by skill level. Hence, the higher fraction of highly skilled workers in amenity-rich places stems from the inability of low-skilled workers to move to and afford living in their preferred locations.
Arntz, Melanie, Cäcilia Lipowski and Eduard Brüll (2022), Do preferences for urban amenities differ by skill? , Journal of Economic Geography https://doi.org/10.1093/jeg/lbac025 , 1-36