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Understanding the long-run decline in interstate migration

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  • Greg Kaplan
  • Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

Abstract

We analyze the secular decline in interstate migration in the United States between 1991 and 2011. Gross flows of people across states are about 10 times larger than net flows, yet have declined by around 50 percent over the past 20 years. We show that micro data rule out many popular explanations for this decline, including aging of the population, the rise of two-earner households, other compositional changes, regional changes, and the rise in real incomes. We argue instead that the fall in migration is due to a decline in the geographic specificity of occupations and an increase in workers’ ability to learn about other locations before moving there, through both information technology and inexpensive travel. We develop a theory to formalize these ideas and show that a plausibly calibrated version is consistent with cross-sectional and time-series patterns of interstate migration, occupations, and incomes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Working Papers with number 697.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:697

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  1. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
  2. Morris A. Davis & Jonas D. M. Fisher & Marcelo Veracierto, 2010. "The role of housing in labor reallocation," Working Paper Series WP-2010-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  3. Glaeser, Edward L., 1999. "Learning in Cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 254-277, September.
  4. Davis, Steven J. & Faberman, R. Jason & Haltiwanger, John, 2012. "Labor market flows in the cross section and over time," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 1-18.
  5. Gerald Carlino & Satyajit Chatterjee, 2002. "Employment Deconcentration: A New Perspective on America's Postwar Urban Evolution," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 445-475.
  6. Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2010. "Interstate Migration Has Fallen Less Than You Think: Consequences of Hot Deck Imputation in the Current Population Survey," NBER Working Papers 16536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Daniele Coen-Pirani, 2006. "Understanding Gross Workers Flows Across U.S. States," 2006 Meeting Papers 459, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. Bayer, Christian & Juessen, Falko, 2008. "On the Dynamics of Interstate Migration: Migration Costs and Self-Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 3330, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Bulent Guler & Fatih Guvenen & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Joint-search theory: new opportunities and new frictions," Staff Report 426, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Gordon B. Dahl, 2002. "Mobility and the Return to Education: Testing a Roy Model with Multiple Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2367-2420, November.
  11. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-73, October.
  12. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Prescott, Edward C., 1974. "Equilibrium search and unemployment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 188-209, February.
  13. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Hyatt, Henry R. & Spletzer, James R., 2013. "The Recent Decline in Employment Dynamics," IZA Discussion Papers 7231, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Zheng Song & Kjetil Storesletten & Yikai Wang & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2012. "Sharing High Growth Across Generations: Pensions and Demographic Transition in China," UBSCENTER - Working Papers 001, UBS International Center of Economics in Society - Department of Economics - University of Zurich.
  3. Siddharth Kothari & Itay Saporta Eksten & Edison Yu, 2013. "Online Appendix to "The (Un)importance of Geographical Mobility in the Great Recession"," Technical Appendices 12-205, Review of Economic Dynamics.
  4. Raven Molloy & Christopher L. Smith & Abigail Wozniak, 2013. "Declining migration within the US: the role of the labor market," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-27, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Ganong, Peter & Shoag, Daniel, 2012. "Why Has Regional Convergence in the U.S. Stopped?," Working Paper Series rwp12-028, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  6. Daniel Cooper & Rüdiger Bachmann, 2012. "Cyclical and sectoral transitions in the U.S. housing market," Working Papers 12-17, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  7. Davis, Morris A. & Fisher, Jonas D. M. & Veracierto, Marcelo, 2013. "Gross Migration, Housing and Urban Population Dynamics," Working Paper Series WP-2013-19, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  8. Coulter, Rory & van Ham, Maarten & Findlay, Allan M., 2013. "New Directions for Residential Mobility Research: Linking Lives through Time and Space," IZA Discussion Papers 7525, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Bulent Guler, 2013. "Dual Income Couples and Interstate Migration," 2013 Meeting Papers 898, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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