NBER Publications by Jonathan I. Dingel

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Working Papers and Chapters and Reporter Articles

October 2016The Determinants of Quality Specialization
A growing literature suggests that high-income countries export high-quality goods. Two hypotheses may explain such specialization, with different implications for welfare, inequality, and trade policy. Fajgelbaum, Grossman, and Helpman (2011) formalize the Linder hypothesis that home demand determines the pattern of specialization and therefore predict that high-income locations export high-quality products. The factor-proportions model also predicts that skill-abundant, high-income locations export skill-intensive, high-quality products. Prior empirical evidence does not separate these explanations. I develop a model that nests both hypotheses and employ microdata on US manufacturing plants' shipments and factor inputs to quantify the two mechanisms' roles in quality specialization acros...
October 2014The Comparative Advantage of Cities
with Donald R. Davis: w20602
What determines the distributions of skills, occupations, and industries across cities? We develop a theory to jointly address these fundamental questions about the spatial organization of economies. Our model incorporates a system of cities, their internal urban structures, and a high-dimensional theory of factor-driven comparative advantage. It predicts that larger cities will be skill-abundant and specialize in skill-intensive activities according to the monotone likelihood ratio property. We test the model using data on 270 US metropolitan areas, 3 to 9 educational categories, 22 occupations, and 21 manufacturing industries. The results provide support for our theory's predictions.
June 2012A Spatial Knowledge Economy
with Donald R. Davis: w18188
Leading empiricists and theorists of cities have recently argued that the generation and exchange of ideas must play a more central role in the analysis of cities. This paper develops the first system of cities model with costly idea exchange as the agglomeration force. Our model replicates a broad set of established facts about the cross section of cities. It provides the first spatial equilibrium theory of why skill premia are higher in larger cities, how variation in these premia emerges from symmetric fundamentals, and why skilled workers have higher migration rates than unskilled workers when both are fully mobile.

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