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Falck, Oliver; Fritsch, Michael; Heblich, Stephan (2011): The phantom of the opera: Cultural amenities, human capital, and regional economic growth. In: Labour Economics, Vol. 18, No. 6: pp. 755-766

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We analyze the extent to which endogenous cultural amenities affect the spatial equilibrium share of high-human-capital employees. To overcome endogeneity, we draw on a quasi-natural experiment in German history and exploit the exogenous spatial distribution of baroque opera houses built as a part of rulers’ competition for prestigious cultural sights. Robustness tests confirm our strategy and strengthen the finding that proximity to a baroque opera house significantly affects the spatial equilibrium share of high-human-capital employees. A cross-region growth regression shows that these employees induce local knowledge spillovers and shift a location to a higher growth path.

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