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Self-Selection and Internal Migration in the United States

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  • George J. Borjas
  • Stephen G. Bronars
  • Stephen J. Trejo

Abstract

Within the conceptual framework of the Roy model, this paper provides an empirical analysis of internal migration flows using data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth. The theoretical approach highlights regional differences in the returns to skills: regions that pay higher returns to skills attract more skilled workers than regions that pay lower returns. Our empirical results suggest that interstate differences in the returns to skills are a major determinant of both the size and skill composition of internal migration flows. Persons whose skills are most mismatched with the reward structure offered by their current state of residence are the persons most likely to leave that state. and these persons tend to relocate in states which offer higher rewards for their particular skills.

Suggested Citation

  • George J. Borjas & Stephen G. Bronars & Stephen J. Trejo, 1992. "Self-Selection and Internal Migration in the United States," NBER Working Papers 4002, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4002
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    1. Chris Robinson & Nigel Tomes, 1982. "Self-Selection and Interprovincial Migration in Canada," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 15(3), pages 474-502, August.
    2. Roback, Jennifer, 1988. "Wages, Rents, and Amenities: Differences among Workers and Regions," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 26(1), pages 23-41, January.
    3. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-773, October.
    4. DaVanzo, Julie, 1983. "Repeat Migration in the United States: Who Moves Back and Who Moves On?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 552-559, November.
    5. Schwartz, Aba, 1973. "Interpreting the Effect of Distance on Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(5), pages 1153-1169, Sept.-Oct.
    6. Fields, Gary S, 1979. "Place-to-Place Migration: Some New Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 61(1), pages 21-32, February.
    7. A. D. Roy, 1951. "Some Thoughts On The Distribution Of Earnings," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 135-146.
    8. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme, 1985. "Heterogeneity, Aggregation, and Market Wage Functions: An Empirical Model of Self-selection in the Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1077-1125, December.
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