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Do jobs follow people or people follow jobs? A meta-analysis of Carlino-Mills studies

Listed author(s):
  • Gerke Hoogstra


  • Jouke Van Dijk


  • Raymond J.G.M. Florax


The issue whether ‘jobs follow people’ and/or ‘people follow jobs’ has recently emerged as one of the leading themes in regional and urban science. Much of the interest herein stems from alleged inconsistencies in the empirical evidence, which naturally raises questions as for the reasons why. Arguably, the nature of causality differs across space as well as time, while speculations have been rife about a number of methodological issues that may play a crucial role in shaping the research outcomes. In this paper a preliminary attempt is described to clarify these matters, by focusing on an articulate literature of 37 so-called ‘Carlino-Mills studies’. Specifically, a statistically supported literature review, referred to as ‘meta-analysis’, is presented in which the study results are evaluated and systematically related to a variety of study characteristics that underlie these results. By listing 308 study results reported in this literature, it is revealed that the empirical evidence is conform popular belief highly inconclusive, albeit that most of the results point towards ‘jobs follow people’. The findings of the meta-regression analyses indicate that the spatial setting of the study, the adopted model specification, and variables measurement in particular affect the research outcomes that indicate the jobs-people direction of causality. No evidence is found that the examination of data referring to a particular time period, population and/ or employment group make much of a difference.

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Paper provided by European Regional Science Association in its series ERSA conference papers with number ersa05p737.

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Date of creation: Aug 2005
Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa05p737
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  1. Kelly D. Edmiston, 2004. "The Net Effects of Large Plant Locations and Expansions on County Employment," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(2), pages 289-320.
  2. Jasper M. Dalhuisen & Raymond J. G. M. Florax & JHenri L. F. de Groot & Peter Nijkamp, 2003. "Price and Income Elasticities of Residential Water Demand: A Meta-Analysis," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 79(2), pages 292-308.
  3. Deitz, Richard, 1998. "A Joint Model of Residential and Employment Location in Urban Areas," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 197-215, September.
  4. Bertrand Schmitt, 2000. "Economic Geography and Contemporary Rural Dynamics: An Empirical Test on Some French Regions," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(8), pages 697-711.
  5. T. D. Stanley, 2001. "Wheat from Chaff: Meta-analysis as Quantitative Literature Review," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(3), pages 131-150, Summer.
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