Wage Premiums Across the Rural-Urban Continuum: What Constitutes a “Good Job”?

Bonnie Elizabeth Bounds


Much like how beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there is no single definition of what constitutes a “good job.”  What makes a given job “good” in relation to other jobs can differ in rural vs. urban areas: a job that pays relatively well compared to other available jobs in a rural area may not compare as favorably in more urbanized areas, and vice versa.  While plenty of research has been done regarding wage differences in urban and rural areas, most studies have focused on how wages vary across the urban-rural continuum within specific jobs, with relatively little attention paid to how wage premiums can vary across occupations within particular communities.  This study examines variations in wage premiums across five major occupational categories in metropolitan, micropolitan, and noncore US counties and tests whether population size and levels of education are good predictors of wage premiums in each size class.  The results indicate that certain categories of occupations do pay relatively better or worse according to the degree of rurality, although population size and education were not exceptionally good at predicting wage premiums.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijrd.v4i2.11350


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