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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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  1. Gordon Dahl, 1997. "Mobility and the Returns to Education: Testing A Roy Model With Multiple Markets," Working Papers 760, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. John Hassler & José Vicente Rodríguez Mora & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2003. "A Positive Theory of Geographic Mobility and Social Insurance," Working Papers 86, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Northwestern University & Damba Lkhagvasuren, 2007. "Big Locational Differences in Unemployment Despite High Labor Mobility," 2007 Meeting Papers 922, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. 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.
  5. Massimo Morelli & Huanxing Yang & Lixin Ye, 2010. "Competitive Nonlinear Taxation and Constitutional Choice," Economics Working Papers ECO2010/14, European University Institute.
  6. Paul Beaudry & Mark Doms & Ethan Lewis, 2006. "Endogenous Skill Bias in Technology Adoption: City-Level Evidence from the IT Revolution," NBER Working Papers 12521, 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. Michael Greenstone & Richard Hornbeck & Enrico Moretti, 2008. "Identifying Agglomeration Spillovers: Evidence from Million Dollar Plants," NBER Working Papers 13833, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Bound, John & Groen, Jeffrey & Kezdi, G.Gabor & Turner, Sarah, 2004. "Trade in university training: cross-state variation in the production and stock of college-educated labor," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 143-173.
  10. Armenter, Roc & Ortega, Francesc, 2011. "Credible redistribution policy and skilled migration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 228-245, February.
  11. Edward L. Glaeser & Albert Saiz, 2003. "The rise of the skilled city," Working Papers 04-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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  14. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre, . "Social insurance, majority voting and labor mobility," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1328, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  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.
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  17. Lutz Hendricks, 2004. "Why Does Educational Attainment Differ Across U.S. States?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1335, CESifo Group Munich.
  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. 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.
  20. Bewley, Truman F, 1981. "A Critique of Tiebout's Theory of Local Public Expenditures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(3), pages 713-40, May.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Armenter, Roc & Ortega, Francesc, 2011. "Credible redistribution policy and skilled migration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 228-245, February.
  3. Giuranno, Michele G. & Rongili, Biswas, 2012. "Inter-jurisdictional migration and the size of government," MPRA Paper 42604, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Coen-Pirani, Daniele, 2010. "Understanding gross worker flows across U.S. states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(7), pages 769-784, October.

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