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Falling House Prices And Labor Mobility: Evidence From Matched Employer-Employee Data

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  • Christopher F. Goetz
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    Abstract

    This study uses worker-level employment data from the U.S. Census Bureau to test whether falling home prices affect a worker's propensity to take a job in a different metropolitan area from where he is currently located. Using a sample of workers from the American Community Survey, I employ a within-MSA-time estimation that compares homeowners to renters in their propensities to relocate for jobs according to data from the Longitudinal Employer Household Dynamics database. This strategy allows me to disentangle the influence of house prices from that of other time-varying, location-specific shocks. Estimates show that homeowners who have experienced declines in the nominal value of their home are approximately 20% less likely to take a new job in a location outside of the metropolitan area that they currently live and work in, relative to an equivalent renter. This evidence is consistent with the hypothesis that housing lock-in has contributed to the decreased labor mobility of homeowners during the recent housing bust.

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    File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2013/CES-WP-13-43.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2013
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 13-43.

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    Length: 50 pages
    Date of creation: Aug 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:13-43

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    1. Paul S. Willen & Adam Hale Shapiro & Kristopher Gerardi, 2008. "Subprime Outcomes: Risky Mortgages, Homeownership Experiences, and Foreclosures," 2008 Meeting Papers 345, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. McCall, Brian P, 1996. "Unemployment Insurance Rules, Joblessness, and Part-Time Work," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 647-82, May.
    3. Henry S. Farber, 2011. "Job Loss in the Great Recession: Historical Perspective from the Displaced Workers Survey, 1984-2010," NBER Working Papers 17040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko & Joseph Tracy, 2008. "Housing Busts and Household Mobility," NBER Working Papers 14310, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. David Genesove & Christopher Mayer, . "Loss Aversion and Seller Behavior: Evidence from the Housing Market," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 323, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
    6. John Schmitt & Kris Warner, 2011. "Deconstructing Structural Unemployment," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2011-06, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    7. Amos Tversky & Daniel Kahneman, 1979. "Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision under Risk," Levine's Working Paper Archive 7656, David K. Levine.
    8. Quigley, John M, 1987. "Interest Rate Variations, Mortgage Prepayments and Household Mobility," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(4), pages 636-43, November.
    9. Chan, Sewin, 2001. "Spatial Lock-in: Do Falling House Prices Constrain Residential Mobility?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 567-586, May.
    10. Gary L. Hunt & Richard E. Mueller, 2004. "North American Migration: Returns to Skill, Border Effects, and Mobility Costs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(4), pages 988-1007, November.
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