Oct 2, 2012

The Benefits of Geographic Mobility (Ref. The US Past)

I use a new sample of families linked between the 1860 and 1880 U.S. censuses to study the impact of migration to frontier cities on job holding. Using variation in transportation costs between different regions of the country to generate exogenous migration, I find frontier city migration had significant job-holding benefits. The impact of migration on job holding was 68% greater for immigrants than for the native born. Expectations about job holding were the most important factor in the decision to migrate to a frontier city. Clerical workers, unskilled blue-collar workers, immigrants, and the poor were also the most likely to migrate. These results show the benefits of geographic mobility and suggest the contribution of frontier cities to economic opportunity in America's past.
Source. Alas I did not find a draft available online.  

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