Does unemployment affect migration?: evidence from micro data

by Julie DaVanzo

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Aggregate data cannot show whether an estimated positive relationship between outmigration and the origin employment rate is due to the unemployed being more likely to migrate, or to people being more likely to leave areas with high unemployment rates regardless of their own employment status. This paper investigates these relationships and suggests that families whose heads are unemployed or dissatisfied with their jobs are more likely to migrate than those whose heads are not searching for different jobs. It is found that local economic conditions (origin unemployment rates) do affect outmigration, but only within the subset of people most seriously affected by them--the unemployed. Hypotheses were tested in a multiple regression analysis of longitudinal data on households from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, consisting of 1605 white couples.

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