Amenities Versus Labor Market Opportunities: Choosing the Optimal Distance to Move
Journal of Regional Science
A recent debate in the regional economics literature has focused attention on the motivation behind an individual's decision to migrate. Human-capital migration models emphasize labor market disequilibria whereas alternative (hedonic) migration models stress households’ altered demand for nontraded goods. In this paper, we test the relative importance of these two possible motivations for moving between metropolitan areas. We use an intercity hedonic model to decompose wages into equilibrium and disequilibrium components. We then compare the separate influences of amenities and the disequilibrium component of wages on the distance moved between two metropolitan areas. Our findings indicate that both economic factors and amenity differentials are significant factors in explaining regional migration.