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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