Economic Freedom and Migration: A Metro Area-Level Analysis

Forthcoming in Southern Economic Journal

34 Pages Posted: 16 Apr 2020

See all articles by Imran Arif

Imran Arif

Appalachian State University

Adam J. Hoffer

University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

Dean Stansel

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom

Donald Lacombe

Texas Tech University

Date Written: March 17, 2020

Abstract

We examine the determinants of intra-U.S. population migration at the metropolitan area level (MSA), with an emphasis on the presence of policies that are consistent with economic freedom. We are the first to produce a multi-variate regression analysis of migration and economic freedom at the local level. Combining a 1993-2014 unbalanced panel of MSA-to-MSA migration data from the Internal Revenue Service with a new economic freedom index for U.S. metropolitan areas, we find that a 10 percent increase in economic freedom of a destination MSA, relative to the economic freedom of an origin MSA, was associated with a 27.4 percent increase in net migration from the origin MSA to the destination MSA. If we use mean net migration flows as a benchmark, we would expect a 10 percent increase in relative economic freedom to increase net migration to the destination MSA by 22 workers per year from each other MSA.

Keywords: migration, metropolitan areas, economic freedom

JEL Classification: R23, H73

Suggested Citation

Arif, Imran and Hoffer, Adam J. and Stansel, Dean and Lacombe, Donald, Economic Freedom and Migration: A Metro Area-Level Analysis (March 17, 2020). Forthcoming in Southern Economic Journal, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3566529

Imran Arif

Appalachian State University ( email )

Boone, NC 28608
United States

Adam J. Hoffer

University of Wisconsin - La Crosse ( email )

1725 State Street
La Crosse, WI 54601
United States

Dean Stansel (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - O’Neil Center for Global Markets and Freedom ( email )

Edwin L. Cox School of Business
Dallas, TX 75275-0333
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.smu.edu/cox/Our-People-and-Community/Faculty/Dean-Stansel

Donald Lacombe

Texas Tech University ( email )

2500 Broadway
Lubbock, TX 79409
United States

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