PhD defence: Darina Steskal

PhD Defense

24 September 2015 11:49

(updated: 25 February 2016 11:51)

PhD defence: Darina Steskal

On Monday 28 September 2015 Darina Steskal will hold a trial lecture on a prescribed topic and defend her thesis "Essays on Urban Wage Premium, Returns to Internal Migration and Migrants' Selection in Norway" for the PhD degree at NHH.

Although urban areas currently occupy only three percent of the planet's surface, more than half of the world's population already lives there. But why do cities exist and who are the people who move there?

Norway had a relatively late urbanization up to the 1960s, however, during the last half a century the urbanization has increased quite dramatically. Today Norway about 80 percent of the population is living in cities and this is also typical in the OECD area in general.

In this thesis the increase in urbanization of the last 40-50 years is analyzed by exploiting "Big Administrative Data" for Norway covering the whole population for families ties, education, earnings, education and mobility across regions. First, it is documented that wages and therefor productivity is higher living in urban versus rural areas, and higher in bigger cities than in small.

Then the question is whether living in a city makes you more productive, or alternatively whether it is a selection story of those who initially are more productive move to the city?

The detailed administrative data combined with natural experiments are used to identify the effect of selection from a city effect of moving to the city. More precisely, the questions are if cities are making people more productive and what the mechanism might be?

The main finding is that people who moved to the cities over the last 40-50 years became more productive after moving. However, some of the urban wage premium comes from selection in that the most productive moved to the cities. For instance, those who moved had a higher education level. Selection on unobservable factors that determine productivity and thus wages in the labor market, the positive selection changes from positive in the first part of the period to negative.

The explanation for this is the change in the income distribution in urban and rural areas in the period. One of the articles has a particular focus on what it exactly could be that makes a person more productive in the city, for instance a better match of skills to firms, the firms are more productive etc. The third paper analyzes the wage gains and potential selection in the slow mobility of people from Northern Norway to the South.

Time and venue

Monday 28 September 2015 in Karl Borch auditorium, NHH. The trial lecture starts at 10:15 and the defence at 12:15. The trial lecture and defence are open to everyone.

Prescribed topic for the trial lecture

Is there too little urbanization in Norway?

Members of the evaluation committee

Professor Kjetil Bjorvatn, NHH
Professor Jørn Rattsø, NTNU
Professor Eva Mørk, Uppsala University

Principal supervisor

Professor Kjell Gunnar Salvanes, NHH