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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. Giovanni L. Violante & Fatih Guvenen & Bulent Guler, 2008. "Joint-Search Theory: New Opportunities and New Frictions," 2008 Meeting Papers 856, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Marcelo Veracierto & Jonas Fisher & Morris Davis, 2012. "The Role of Housing in Labor Reallocation," 2012 Meeting Papers 805, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Song, Zheng Michael & Storesletten, Kjetil & Wang, Yikai & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2012. "Sharing High Growth Across Generations: Pensions and Demographic Transition in China," CEPR Discussion Papers 9156, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. 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.
  5. Henry R. Hyatt & James Spletzer, 2013. "The Recent Decline in Employment Dynamics," Working Papers 13-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  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. Bulent Guler, 2013. "Dual Income Couples and Interstate Migration," 2013 Meeting Papers 898, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  8. 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.).
  9. 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).

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