Elisa Giannone, an economist at the University of Chicago, notes that in past decades, highly paid professionals — doctors, say — might have congregated in cities with fewer physicians to capitalize on the lack of competition and earn more. Likewise, many companies that employed high-skilled workers would move to lower-cost cities to take advantage of cheaper labor.
But her research has found that both trends have been upended by the rise of highly skilled information technology work. People with such skills prefer to work in cities with their peers. And the companies that employ them seem to care just as much about the right skills as they do about lower costs. What’s more, higher educated employees typically become more efficient when they cluster together and exchange ideas.