Declining Migration within the US: The Role of the Labor Market

48 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2014

See all articles by Raven Molloy

Raven Molloy

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Christopher L. Smith

Government of the United States of America - Division of Research and Statistics

Abigail Wozniak

University of Notre Dame; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 1, 2013

Abstract

We examine explanations for the secular decline in interstate migration since the 1980s. After showing that demographic and socioeconomic factors can account for little of this decrease, we present evidence suggesting that it is related to a downward trend in labor market transitions -- i.e. a decline in the fraction of workers moving from job to job, changing industry, and changing occupation -- that occurred over the same period. We explore a number of reasons why these flows have diminished over time, including changes in the distribution of job opportunities across space, polarization in the labor market, concerns of dual-career households, and a strengthening of internal labor markets. We find little empirical support for all but the last of these hypotheses. Specifically, using data from three cohorts of the National Longitudinal Surveys spanning the 1970s to the 2000s, we find that wage gains associated with employer transitions have fallen, possibly signaling a growing role for internal labor markets in determining wages.

Keywords: U.S. migration, trends in migration, internal labor markets, job mobility

JEL Classification: J61, J62, J10, J24

Suggested Citation

Molloy, Raven and Smith, Christopher L. and Wozniak, Abigail, Declining Migration within the US: The Role of the Labor Market (April 1, 2013). FEDS Working Paper No. 2013-27. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2446848 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2446848

Raven Molloy

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Christopher L. Smith (Contact Author)

Government of the United States of America - Division of Research and Statistics ( email )

20th and C Streets, NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Abigail Wozniak

University of Notre Dame ( email )

361 Mendoza College of Business
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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