NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Declining Migration within the U.S.: The Role of the Labor Market

Raven Molloy, Christopher L. Smith, Abigail K. Wozniak

NBER Working Paper No. 20065
Issued in April 2014
NBER Program(s):   DAE   EFG   LS

Interstate migration has decreased steadily since the 1980s. We show that this trend is not primarily related to demographic and socioeconomic factors, but instead appears to be connected to a concurrent secular decline in labor market transitions. We explore a number of reasons for the declines in geographic and labor market transitions, and find the strongest support for explanations related to a decrease in the net benefit to changing employers. Our preferred interpretation is that the distribution of relevant outside offers has shifted in a way that has made labor market transitions, and thus geographic transitions, less desirable to workers.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20065

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