People mobility, labor market disequilibrium and rural development in the US

Authors: Xue Zhang*, Cornell University
Topics: Population Geography, Migration, Economic Geography
Keywords: mobility, labor market, rural development
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: 8217, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This research explores the impact of pull and push factors on people's commuting and migration at the county level in the US. The dependent variable is the number of out-commuters/out-migrants between two counties. The independent variables measure the disequilibrium in the local labor marker and between two labor markets. Group logit model results show that the human capital-job framework has more explanatory power in the commuting model, which implies that other factors, such as local amenity, and housing market, could explain more about people's migration. People commute/migrate to places with higher wages, which confirm the New Economic Geography theory. People commute/migrate to places with more active labor market but higher unemployment rate.
Although results vary across metro status. Rural is the only place suffering brain drain, which implies that the impact of improving education on rural development is uncertain. Rural places with higher educational level are more likely to loss people. On the other hand, those rural areas attract in-migrants from other places. Both pull and push factors intercounty and intra-county play an important role in people's mobility. Regional development should consider the interaction between human capital and job market rather than only consider either increase educational level or employment rate. Also, no place is isolated. Development is the interaction between spaces. Local governments should comprehensibly consider the human capital- job balance inside the community and the connection with other communities.

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