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The Economic Complexity of US Metropolitan Areas

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Document pages: 80 pages

Abstract: We calculate measures of economic complexity for US metropolitan areas forthe years 2007-2015 based on industry employment data. We show that the conceptof economic complexity translates well from the cross-country to the regionalsetting, and is able to incorporate local as well as traded industries. Thelargest cities and the Northeast of the US have the highest average complexity,while traded industries are more complex than local-serving ones on average,but with some exceptions. On average, regions with higher complexity have ahigher income per capita, but those regions also were more affected by thefinancial crisis. Finally, economic complexity is a significant predictor ofwithin-decreases in income per capita and population. Our findings highlightthe importance of subnational regions, and particularly metropolitan areas, asunits of economic geography.

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