Understanding migration aversion using elicited counterfactual choice probabilities
Residential mobility rates in the United States have fallen considerably over the past three decades. The cause of the long-term decline remains largely unexplained. In this paper we investigate the relative importance of alternative drivers of residential mobility, including job opportunities, neighborhood and housing amenities, social networks, and housing and moving costs, using data from two waves of the New York Fed?s Survey of Consumer Expectations. Our hypothetical choice methodology elicits choice probabilities from which we recover the distribution of preferences for location and ...
Geographical reallocation and unemployment during the Great Recession: the role of the housing bust
This paper quantitatively evaluates the hypothesis that the housing bust in 2007 decreased geographical reallocation and increased the dispersion and level of unemployment during the Great Recession. We construct an equilibrium model of multiple locations with frictional housing and labor markets. When house prices fall, the amount of home equity declines, making it harder for homeowners to afford the down payment on a new house after moving. Consequently, the decline in house prices reduces migration and causes unemployment to rise differently in different locations. The model accounts for ...
Migration, Congestion Externalities, and the Evaluation of Spatial Investments
The direct benefits of infrastructure in developing countries can be large, but if new infrastructure induces in-migration, congestion of other local publicly provided goods may offset the direct benefits. Using the example of rural household electrification in South Africa, we demonstrate the importance of accounting for migration when evaluating welfare gains of spatial programs. We also provide a practical approach to computing welfare gains that does not rely on land prices. We develop a location choice model that incorporates missing land markets and allows for congestion in local land. ...
Interregional Migration and Housing Vacancy: Theory and Empirics
We examine homeowner vacancy rate interdependencies over time and space through the channel of migration. Our theoretical analysis extends the Wheaton (1990) search and matching model for housing by incorporating interregional spillovers due to some households’ desires to migrate between regions and by allowing for regime-switching behavior. Our empirical analysis of vacancy rates for the entire U.S. and for Census regions provides visual evidence for the possibility of regime-switching behavior. We explicitly test our model by estimating basic Vector Autoregression (VAR) and ...
Trade and Labor Market Dynamics: General Equilibrium Analysis of the China Trade Shock
We develop a dynamic trade model with spatially distinct labor markets facing varying exposure to international trade. The model captures the role of labor mobility frictions, goods mobility frictions, geographic factors, and input-output linkages in determining equilibrium allocations. We show how to solve the equilibrium of the model and take the model to the data without assuming that the economy is at a steady state and without estimating productivities, migration frictions, or trade costs, which can be difficult to identify. We calibrate the model to 22 sectors, 38 countries, and 50 U.S. ...
On Regional Borrowing, Default, and Migration
Migration plays a key role in city finances with every new entrant reducing debt per person and every exit increasing it. We study the interactions between regional borrowing, migration, and default from empirical, theoretical, and quantitative perspectives. Empirically, we document that in-migration rates are positively correlated with deficits, that many cities appear to be at or near state-imposed borrowing limits, and that defaults can occur after booms or busts in productivity and population. Theoretically, we show that migration creates an externality that results in over-borrowing, and ...
In-migration and Dilution of Community Social Capital
Consistent with predictions from the literature, we find that higher levels of in-migration dilute multiple dimensions of a community's level of social capital. The analysis employs a 2SLS methodology to account for potential endogeneity of migration.
Individual Social Capital and Migration
This paper determines how individual, relative to community, social capital affects individual migration decisions. We make use of nonpublic data from the Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey to predict multidimensional social capital for observations in the Current Population Survey. We find evidence that individuals are much less likely to have moved to a community with average social capital levels lower than their own and that higher levels of community social capital act as positive pull-factor amenities. The importance of that amenity differs across urban/rural locations. We also ...
What Caused the Secular Decline in Interstate Migration in the United States?
Geographic mobility is thought to be important both for economic mobility and for the efficiency of a labor market in allocating the right people to the right jobs. Accordingly, the willingness of the U.S. workforce to move is a factor behind the greater dynamism of the U.S. labor market compared to Europe. While Europeans tend to be more reluctant to move to distant places within their respective countries, the idea of moving across state borders for a job has been woven into the fabric of the American Dream. However, the image of the United States as a mobile nation has changed ...
Disaster (over-)insurance: the long-term financial and socioeconomic consequences of Hurricane Katrina
Federal disaster insurance?in the form of national flood insurance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other programs?is designed to nationally-distribute large geography-specific shocks like earthquakes and hurricanes. This study examines the local longrun net impact of Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent policy response on impacted residents. Using a unique fifteen-year panel of five percent of adult Americans? credit reports, we find higher rates of insolvency and lower homeownership among inundated residents of New Orleans ten years after the storm, relative to their ...