DP1815 | The King Never Emigrates: Political Culture and the Reluctant International Movement of People

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We consider a country where a king assigns benefits in accordance with privilege determined by the population?s proximity to the throne. People have different relative advantages in seeking privilege and in productive activity. The nature of the contest for privilege determines whether, in equilibrium, the more productive or less productive in society are located closer to the king, and thus who has an incentive to emigrate. When contests for privilege are ?easy?, the more productive are furthest from the king and emigrate first. When contests are ?difficult?, the least productive emigrate first. In either case, the population unravels, although emigration is bounded.