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The effect of expected income on individual migration decisions

  • Kennan,J.
  • Walker,J.R.

    (University of Wisconsin-Madison, Social Systems Research Institute)

The paper develops a tractable econometric model of optimal migration, focusing on expected income as the main economic influence on migration. The model improves on previous work in two respects: it covers optimal sequences of location decisions (rather than a single once-for-all choice), and it allows for many alternative location choices. The model is estimated using panel data from the NLSY on white males with a high school education. Our main conclusion is that interstate migration decisions are influenced to a substantial extent by income prospects. The results suggest that the link between income and migration decisions is driven both by geographic differences in mean wages and by a tendency to move in search of a better locational match when the income realization in the current location is unfavorable.

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File URL: http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/~jkennan/research/jkjwPaper_March03.pdf
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Paper provided by Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems in its series Working papers with number 7.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:att:wimass:20037
Contact details of provider: Postal: UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN MADISON, SOCIAL SYSTEMS RESEARCH INSTITUTE(S.S.R.I.), MADISON WISCONSIN 53706 U.S.A.

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  1. Patricia Reagan & Randall Olsen, 2000. "You can go home again: Evidence from longitudinal data," Demography, Springer, vol. 37(3), pages 339-350, August.
  2. Banks, Jeffrey S & Sundaram, Rangarajan K, 1994. "Switching Costs and the Gittins Index," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(3), pages 687-94, May.
  3. 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.
  4. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1997. "The Career Decisions of Young Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 473-522, June.
  5. Rust, John, 1987. "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 999-1033, September.
  6. Robert E. B. Lucas, 1994. "Internal Migration in Developing Countries," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 43, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  7. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1994. "The Growth of Earnings Instability in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 217-272.
  8. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1991. "Convergence across States and Regions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 107-182.
  9. Schultz, T Paul, 1982. "Lifetime Migration within Educational Strata in Venezuela: Estimates of a Logistic Model," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(3), pages 559-93, April.
  10. Derek Neal, 1998. "The Complexity of Job Mobility Among Young Men," NBER Working Papers 6662, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Kennan, John & Walker, James R., 2010. "Wages, welfare benefits and migration," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 156(1), pages 229-238, May.
  12. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  13. Tunali, Insan, 2000. "Rationality of Migration," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 41(4), pages 893-920, November.
  14. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-51, April.
  15. Topel, Robert H, 1986. "Local Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S111-43, June.
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