DP12977 | Economic Shocks and Internal Migration

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06/06/2018

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Abstract

Internal migration can respond to local shocks through either changes in in- or out-migration rates. This paper documents that most of the response of internal migration is accounted for by variation in in-migration. I develop and estimate a parsimonious general equilibrium dynamic spatial model around this fact. I then use the model to evaluate the speed of convergence and long run change in welfare across metropolitan areas given the heterogeneous incidence of the Great Recession at the local level. The paper shows that while there are some lasting effects of the Great Recession across locations, at least 60 percent of the initial differences potentially dissipate across space within around 10 years. This is true even when locals from the most affected metropolitan areas do not out-migrate in higher proportions in response to local shocks.