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Credible redistributive policies and migration across US States

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  • Roc Armenter
  • Francesc Ortega

Abstract

Does worker mobility undermine governments ability to redistribute income? This paper analyzes the experience of US states in the recent decades. We build a tractable model where both migration decisions and redistribution policies are endogenous. We calibrate the model to match skill premium and worker productivity at the state level, as well as the size and skill composition of migration flows. The calibrated model is able to reproduce the large changes in skill composition as well as key qualitative relationships of labor flows and redistribution policies observed in the data. Our results suggest that regional di¤erences in labor productivity are an important determinant of interstate migration. We use the calibrated model to compare the cross-section of redistributive policies with and without worker mobility. The main result of the paper is that interstate migration has induced substantial convergence in tax rates across US states, but no race to the bottom. Skill-biased in-migration has reduced the skill premium and the need for tax-based redistribution in the states that would have had the highest tax rates in the absence of mobility.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 1022.

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Date of creation: Feb 2007
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:1022

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Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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Keywords: Migration; taxation; education; credibility;

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References

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  1. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
  2. John Hassler & José V. Rodriguez Mora & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2002. "A Positive Theory of Geographic Mobility and Social Insurance," CESifo Working Paper Series 791, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Gordon B. Dahl, 2002. "Mobility and the Return to Education: Testing a Roy Model with Multiple Markets," RCER Working Papers 488, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
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  6. Paul Beaudry & Mark Doms & Ethan Lewis, 2006. "Endogenous skill bias in technology adoption: city-level evidence from the IT revolution," Working Paper Series 2006-24, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.
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  8. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre, 1998. "Social insurance, majority voting and labor mobility," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(3), pages 397-420, June.
  9. Wilson, John Douglas & Wildasin, David E., 2004. "Capital tax competition: bane or boon," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(6), pages 1065-1091, June.
  10. Damba Lkhagvasuren, 2005. "Big Locational Differences in Unemployment Despite High Labor Mobility," Working Papers 12002, Concordia University, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2012.
  11. Massimo Morelli & Huanxing Yang & Lixin Ye, 2012. "Competitive Nonlinear Taxation and Constitutional Choice," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 142-75, February.
  12. Lutz Hendricks, 2004. "Why does educational attainment differ across U.S. states?," 2004 Meeting Papers 361, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Daniele Coen-Pirani, . "Understanding Gross Workers Flows Across U.S. States," GSIA Working Papers 2006-E68, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  14. Grogger, Jeffrey & Hanson, Gordon H., 2011. "Income maximization and the selection and sorting of international migrants," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(1), pages 42-57, May.
  15. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Friedman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 1-90.
  16. John DiNardo & David Card, 2000. "Do Immigrant Inflows Lead to Native Outflows?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 360-367, May.
  17. John M. Abowd & Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number abow91-1.
  18. Christian Bayer & Falko Juessen, 2006. "A generalized options approach to aggregate migration with an application to US federal states," 2006 Meeting Papers 656, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  19. Armenter, Roc & Ortega, Francesc, 2011. "Credible redistribution policy and skilled migration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 228-245, February.
  20. Michael Greenstone & Richard Hornbeck & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "Identifying Agglomeration Spillovers: Evidence from Million Dollar Plants," Working Paper Series 36-08, The Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis, revised Jan 2008.
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  22. Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Can Redistributive State Taxes Reduce Inequality?," CEPR Discussion Papers 490, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
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Cited by:
  1. Daniele Coen-Pirani, . "Understanding Gross Workers Flows Across U.S. States," GSIA Working Papers 2006-E68, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  2. Bayer, Christian & Juessen, Falko, 2006. "On the Dynamics of Interstate Migration: Migration Costs and Self-Selection," Technical Reports 2006,38, Technische Universität Dortmund, Sonderforschungsbereich 475: Komplexitätsreduktion in multivariaten Datenstrukturen.
  3. Giuranno, Michele G. & Rongili, Biswas, 2012. "Inter-jurisdictional migration and the size of government," MPRA Paper 42604, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Armenter, Roc & Ortega, Francesc, 2011. "Credible redistribution policy and skilled migration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 228-245, February.

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