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Migration Networks and Location Decisions: Evidence from U.S. Mass Migration

Author

Listed:
  • Bryan Stuart

    (George Washington University)

  • Evan Taylor

    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of birth town migration networks on location decisions. We study over one million long-run location decisions made during two landmark migration episodes by African Americans from the U.S. South and whites from the Great Plains. We develop a new method to estimate the strength of migration networks for each receiving and sending location. Our estimates imply that when one randomly chosen African American moves from a birth town to a destination county, then 1.9 additional black migrants make the same move on average. For white migrants from the Great Plains, the average is only 0.4. Networks were particularly important in connecting black migrants with attractive employment opportunities and played a larger role in less costly moves.

Suggested Citation

  • Bryan Stuart & Evan Taylor, 2017. "Migration Networks and Location Decisions: Evidence from U.S. Mass Migration," Working Papers 2017-26, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:gwi:wpaper:2017-26
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. De Weerdt, Joachim & Christiaensen, Luc & Kanbur, Ravi, 2021. "When Distance Drives Destination, Towns Can Stimulate Development," IZA Discussion Papers 14157, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    2. Cavit Baran & Eric Chyn & Bryan A. Stuart, 2022. "The Great Migration and Educational Opportunity," Upjohn Working Papers 22-367, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    3. Collins, William J., 2021. "The Great Migration of Black Americans from the US South: A guide and interpretation," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 80(C).
    4. Biavaschi, Costanza & Giulietti, Corrado & Zenou, Yves, 2021. "Social Networks and (Political) Assimilation in the Age of Mass Migration," CEPR Discussion Papers 16182, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Richard Hornbeck, 2020. "Dust Bowl Migrants: Identifying an Archetype," NBER Working Papers 27656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Ariell Zimran, 2022. "Internal Migration in the United States: Rates, Selection, and Destination Choice, 1850-1940," NBER Working Papers 30384, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Ning Jia & Raven S. Molloy & Christopher L. Smith & Abigail Wozniak, 2022. "The Economics of Internal Migration: Advances and Policy Questions," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2022-003, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Jia, Ning & Molloy, Raven & Smith, Christopher L. & Wozniak, Abigail, 2022. "The Economics of Internal Migration: Advances and Policy Questions," IZA Discussion Papers 15047, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    migration networks; location decisions; social interactions; Great Migration;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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