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Gross Migration, Housing and Urban Population Dynamics

  • Davis, Morris A.


    (University of Wisconsin)

  • Fisher, Jonas D. M.

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)

  • Veracierto, Marcelo

    (Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago)

Cities experience significant, near random walk productivity shocks, yet population is slow to adjust. In practise local population changes are dominated by variation in net migration, and we argue that understanding gross migration is essential to quantify how net migration may slow population adjustments. Housing is also a natural candidate for slowing population adjustments because it is difficult to move, costly to build quickly, and a large durable stock makes a city attractive to potential migrants. We quantify the influence of migration and housing on urban population dynamics using a dynamic general equilibrium model of cities which incorporates a new theory of gross migration motivated by patterns we uncover in a panel of US cities. After assigning values to the model's parameters with an exactly identified procedure, we demonstrate that its implied dynamic responses to productivity shocks of population, gross migration, employment, wages, home construction and house prices strongly resemble those we estimate with our panel data. The empirically validated model implies that costs of attracting workers to cities drive slow population adjustments. Housing plays a very limited role.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-2013-19.

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Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: 02 Dec 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-2013-19
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  1. John Kennan & James R. Walker, 2003. "The Effect of Expected Income on Individual Migration Decisions," NBER Working Papers 9585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Stijn Van Nieuwerburgh & Pierre-Olivier Weill, 2006. "Why Has House Price Dispersion Gone Up?," NBER Working Papers 12538, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Fernando Ferreira & Joseph Gyourko & Joseph Tracy, 2012. "Housing busts and household mobility: an update," Economic Policy Review, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, issue Nov, pages 1-15.
  4. Molloy, Raven & Smith, Christopher L. & Wozniak, Abigail, 2011. "Internal Migration in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 5903, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Steven J. Davis & R. Jason Faberman & John Haltiwanger, 2006. "The Flow Approach to Labor Markets: New Data Sources and Micro-Macro Links," NBER Working Papers 12167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Toni M. Whited & Jonas D.M. Fisher & Morris A. Davis, 2010. "Macroeconomic Implications of Agglomeration," 2010 Meeting Papers 1330, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Fernando Alvarez & Marcelo Veracierto, 2006. "Fixed-Term Employment Contracts in an Equilibrium Search Model," NBER Working Papers 12791, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Antonio Ciccone & Robert E. Hall, 1993. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 4313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Davis, Morris & Heathcote, Jonathan, 2005. "The Price and Quantity of Residential Land in the United States," CEPR Discussion Papers 5333, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Fatih Karahan & Serena Rhee, 2013. "Geographical reallocation and unemployment during the Great Recession: the role of the housing bust," Staff Reports 605, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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  17. Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2012. "Understanding the Long-Run Decline in Interstate Migration," NBER Working Papers 18507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Abel, Andrew B & Eberly, Janice C, 1994. "A Unified Model of Investment under Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1369-84, December.
  19. 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.
  20. Fernando Alvarez & Robert Shimer, 2011. "Search and Rest Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(1), pages 75-122, 01.
  21. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2001. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," NBER Working Papers 8598, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. David Y. Albouy, 2008. "The Unequal Geographic Burden of Federal Taxation," NBER Working Papers 13995, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Prescott, Edward C., 1974. "Equilibrium search and unemployment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 188-209, February.
  24. Jan Eeckhout, 2004. "Gibrat's Law for (All) Cities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(5), pages 1429-1451, December.
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