IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/18507.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Understanding the Long-Run Decline in Interstate Migration

Author

Listed:
  • Greg Kaplan
  • Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

Abstract

We analyze the secular decline in interstate migration in the United States between 1991 and 2011. Gross flows of people across states are about 10 times larger than net flows, yet have declined by around 50 percent over the past 20 years. We argue that the fall in migration is due to a decline in the geographic specificity of returns to occupations, together with an increase in workers' ability to learn about other locations before moving there, through information technology and inexpensive travel. These explanations find support in micro data on the distribution of earnings and occupations across space and on rates of repeat migration. Other explanations, including compositional changes, regional changes, and the rise in real incomes, do not fit the data. We develop a model to formalize the geographic-specificity and information mechanisms and show that a calibrated version is consistent with cross-sectional and time-series patterns of migration, occupations, and incomes. Our mechanisms can explain at least one-third and possibly all of the decline in gross migration since 1991.

Suggested Citation

  • Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2012. "Understanding the Long-Run Decline in Interstate Migration," NBER Working Papers 18507, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18507
    Note: EFG LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18507.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Christian Bayer & Falko Juessen, 2012. "On the Dynamics of Interstate Migration: Migration Costs and Self-Selection," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 15(3), pages 377-401, July.
    2. Matthieu Crozet, 2004. "Do migrants follow market potentials? An estimation of a new economic geography model," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(4), pages 439-458, August.
    3. Berry, Christopher R. & Glaeser, Edward L., 2005. "Divergence of Human Capital Levels across Cities," Working Paper Series rwp05-057, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    4. Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2012. "Interstate Migration Has Fallen Less Than You Think: Consequences of Hot Deck Imputation in the Current Population Survey," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(3), pages 1061-1074, August.
    5. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-1278, December.
    6. Farré, Lídia & Fasani, Francesco, 2013. "Media exposure and internal migration — Evidence from Indonesia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 48-61.
    7. Davis, Steven J. & Faberman, R. Jason & Haltiwanger, John, 2012. "Labor market flows in the cross section and over time," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 1-18.
    8. Glaeser, Edward L., 1999. "Learning in Cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 254-277, September.
    9. Morris A. Davis & Jonas D. M. Fisher & Marcelo Veracierto, 2010. "The role of housing in labor reallocation," Working Paper Series WP-2010-18, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    10. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-773, October.
    11. Fatih Karahan & Serena Rhee, 2014. "Population aging, migration spillovers, and the decline in interstate migration," Staff Reports 699, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    12. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-499, June.
    13. Guler, Bulent & Guvenen, Fatih & Violante, Giovanni L., 2012. "Joint-search theory: New opportunities and new frictions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(4), pages 352-369.
    14. Lkhagvasuren, Damba, 2014. "Education, mobility and the college wage premium," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 159-173.
    15. Coen-Pirani, Daniele, 2010. "Understanding gross worker flows across U.S. states," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(7), pages 769-784, October.
    16. Gerald Carlino & Satyajit Chatterjee, 2002. "Employment Deconcentration: A New Perspective on America’s Postwar Urban Evolution," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(3), pages 445-475, August.
    17. Nancy L. Rose, 2014. "Economic Regulation and Its Reform: What Have We Learned?," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number rose05-1, december.
    18. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2008. "Rising Occupational And Industry Mobility In The United States: 1968-97," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 49(1), pages 41-79, February.
    19. Gordon B. Dahl, 2002. "Mobility and the Return to Education: Testing a Roy Model with Multiple Markets," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2367-2420, November.
    20. Christopher R. Berry & Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The divergence of human capital levels across cities," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 84(3), pages 407-444, August.
    21. Christopher R. Berry & Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Divergence of Human Capital Levels across Cities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2091, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    22. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-142, March.
    23. Christopher R. Berry & Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Divergence of Human Capital Levels Across Cities," NBER Working Papers 11617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Prescott, Edward C., 1974. "Equilibrium search and unemployment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 188-209, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer‐Wohl, 2017. "Understanding The Long‐Run Decline In Interstate Migration," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 58, pages 57-94, February.
    2. Fu, Yuming & Gabriel, Stuart A., 2012. "Labor migration, human capital agglomeration and regional development in China," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 473-484.
    3. Douglas J. Krupka & Kwame N. Donaldson, 2013. "Wages, Rents, And Heterogeneous Moving Costs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 51(1), pages 844-864, January.
    4. De la Roca, Jorge, 2017. "Selection in initial and return migration: Evidence from moves across Spanish cities," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 33-53.
    5. Dan Black & Natalia Kolesnikova & Lowell Taylor, 2009. "Earnings Functions When Wages and Prices Vary by Location," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 21-47, January.
    6. Viktor A. Venhorst, 2017. "Human capital spillovers in Dutch cities: consumption or productivity?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 59(3), pages 793-817, November.
    7. Douglas J. Krupka, 2009. "Location‐Specific Human Capital, Location Choice And Amenity Demand," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(5), pages 833-854, December.
    8. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew G. Resseger, 2010. "The Complementarity Between Cities And Skills," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 221-244, February.
    9. Haifeng Qian & Zoltán J. Ács & Roger R. Stough, 2015. "Regional systems of entrepreneurship: the nexus of human capital, knowledge and new firm formation," Chapters, in: Global Entrepreneurship, Institutions and Incentives, chapter 14, pages 257-285, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    10. Chung Choe & E. LaBrent Chrite, 2014. "Internal Migration of Blacks in South Africa: An Application of the Roy Model," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 82(1), pages 81-98, March.
    11. Liang Zheng, 2016. "What city amenities matter in attracting smart people?," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95(2), pages 309-327, June.
    12. Peter McHenry, 2014. "The Geographic Distribution Of Human Capital: Measurement Of Contributing Mechanisms," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 215-248, March.
    13. Clément Gorin, 2016. "Patterns and determinants of inventors' mobility across European urban areas," Working Papers halshs-01313086, HAL.
    14. Jaewon Lim & Changkeun Lee & Euijune Kim, 2015. "Contributions of human capital investment policy to regional economic growth: an interregional CGE model approach," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 55(2), pages 269-287, December.
    15. Edward L. Glaeser & Scott Duke Kominers & Michael Luca & Nikhil Naik, 2018. "Big Data And Big Cities: The Promises And Limitations Of Improved Measures Of Urban Life," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 56(1), pages 114-137, January.
    16. Ryan M. Gallagher & Joseph Persky, 2020. "Heterogeneity of birth‐state effects on internal migration," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 517-537, June.
    17. Berliant, Marcus & Kung, Fan-chin, 2006. "Can Information Asymmetry Cause Agglomeration?," MPRA Paper 1278, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 29 Dec 2006.
    18. Jorge De la Roca & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Diego Puga, 2014. "City of Dreams," CEP Discussion Papers dp1305, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    19. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Duranton, Gilles & Gobillon, Laurent & Roux, Sébastien, 2012. "Sorting and local wage and skill distributions in France," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 913-930.
    20. Arntz, Melanie & Brüll, Eduard & Lipowski, Cäcilia, 2021. "Do preferences for urban amenities really differ by skill?," ZEW Discussion Papers 21-045, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18507. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.