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Empirical essays in economic geography and labour economics: regulations and the labour market consequences of automation and innovation

Yu, Jen-Hsuan (Paul) (2022) Empirical essays in economic geography and labour economics: regulations and the labour market consequences of automation and innovation. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.00004458


This thesis is comprised of four distinct, original pieces of research on topics related to economic geography and the labour market consequences of innovation and automation. The first chapter outlines the thesis and sets the scene. The second chapter studies the determinants of the variation in the returns to college education across U.S. cities. We find that local innovation exerts a positive influence on local education returns and such effects are particularly pronounced in larger cities. Our findings have implications for within-city levels of inequality, particularly across the skill distribution. The next two chapters in the thesis relate to the role of automation technologies and their implications for labour markets, specifically concerning the recent arrival and widespread use of industrial robots in the production process. Hence, the third chapter examines the use of robots in the U.K. exploring trends across local labour markets. The study yields interesting findings in employment dynamics across occupations and industries that echo past studies. The fourth chapter assesses the role of the same technology in a cross-country setting with an emphasis on industry linkages. I find that greater rates of robot usage in one industry are positively associated with the labour market outcomes of downstream sectors. This effect is likely driven by price mechanisms when industries experience technological change that raise their productivity potential. The final chapter explores the local growth consequences of land use regulation in U.S. cities. I find that the composition of local growth outcomes can be influenced by the level of regulatory constraints on housing, particularly in high demand localities. I hope the findings and insights from this thesis can have the potential to possibly inform aspects of urban, innovation and/or labour market policies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2022 Jen-Hsuan (Paul) Yu
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Sets: Departments > Geography and Environment
Supervisor: Lee, Neil and Monastiriotis, Vassilis

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