César A. Hidalgo

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT Medial Lab
75 Amherst St.
Cambridge, MA 02139

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2018The Role of Industry, Occupation, and Location-Specific Knowledge in the Survival of New Firms
with C. Jara Figueroa, Bogang Jun, Edward L. Glaeser: w24868
How do regions acquire the knowledge they need to diversify their economic activities? How does the migration of workers among firms and industries contribute to the diffusion of that knowledge? Here we measure the industry, occupation, and location specific knowledge carried by workers from one establishment to the next using a dataset summarizing the individual work history for an entire country. We study pioneer firms–firms operating in an industry that was not present in a region–because the success of pioneers is the basic unit of regional economic diversification. We find that the growth and survival of pioneers increase significantly when their first hires are workers with experience in a related industry, and with work experience in the same location, but not with past experience i...
October 2015Do People Shape Cities, or Do Cities Shape People? The Co-evolution of Physical, Social, and Economic Change in Five Major U.S. Cities
with Nikhil Naik, Scott Duke Kominers, Ramesh Raskar, Edward L. Glaeser: w21620
Urban change involves transformations in the physical appearance and the social composition of neighborhoods. Yet, the relationship between the physical and social components of urban change is not well understood due to the lack of comprehensive measures of neighborhood appearance. Here, we introduce a computer vision method to quantify change in physical appearance of streetscapes and generate a dataset of physical change for five large American cities. We combine this dataset with socioeconomic indicators to explore whether demographic and economic changes precede, follow, or co-occur with changes in physical appearance. We find that the strongest predictors of improvement in a neighborhood’s physical appearance are population density and share of college-educated adults. Other socioeco...
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