Regional diversification and labour market upgrading: local access to skill-related high-income jobs helps workers escaping low-wage employment

This article investigates how the evolution of local labour market structure enables or constrains workers as regards escaping low-wage jobs. Drawing on the network-based approach of evolutionary economic geography, we employ a detailed individual-level panel dataset to construct skill-relatedness networks for 72 functional labour market regions in Sweden. Subsequent fixed-effect panel regressions indicate that increasing density of skill-related high-income jobs within a region is conducive to low-wage workers moving to better-paid jobs, hence facilitating labour market upgrading through diversification. While metropolitan regions offer a premium for this relationship, it also holds for smaller regions, and across various worker characteristics.