How local barriers to migration shape relocation and earnings in the wake of china trade shocks

Grant Type: academic

Grant Year: 2017

Grant Amount: $67,120

Grant description:

In the past, migration was an important way Americans reacted to economic shocks. When one area was hit by a decline in labor demand, residents of the area could respond by moving to an area where demand for their labor was higher. But internal migration has been falling and may be a reason why incomes for most Americans have stagnated. In an era of low labor mobility, what determines who responds to the shock via migration? This research seeks to extend recent work that has studied the impact of the well-documented shock from increased Chinese imports on the mobility of affected workers across firms, industries, and local labor markets. The authors have access to rich census data that allows them to trace individuals over time and space, and to observe many variables that may affect the likelihood of an individual’s mobility response to the trade shock—for example, demographics, historical migration flows between locations, and presence of higher education opportunities. This project will look at the net mobility of each region, and also dig into the gross inflows and outflows to better understand the underlying mechanisms.

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