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Title: Job search and migration
Author: Balgova, Maria
ISNI:       0000 0004 9354 9966
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2019
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Standard models of within-country mobility assume that all migration is speculative: workers move to search for jobs in other labour markets. I establish a new stylised fact showing that the majority of cross-regional migration in the US is in fact with a job in hand, as a result of a job offer from another region. The fact that a significant fraction of migration is a result of cross-regional hiring, and that this hiring is subject to search and matching frictions, has important implications for the level of regional mobility and hence regional differences within a country. In the first two chapters, I show empirically that the availability of cross-regional employment opportunities does matter for workers’ migration behaviour. Using US panel data, I demonstrate that the observed gap in migration propensity between the more and less educated workers can be partly explained by differences in labour market frictions. The less educated workers find job search in more distant regions much more difficult, which limits their options to move for a specific job and reduces their overall mobility. This result opens a new policy channel in addressing regional differences and those left behind: the importance of the ability to find a job before moving suggests a large social return to improving regional search and matching for less educated groups. In the third chapter, I explore the theoretical implications of an imperfect search and matching process on the existence and persistence of regional disparities. First, I show that if the efficiency of the search and matching process increases in the size of the labour market, migration will serve to exacerbate, not equilibrate, the differences in regional economies. A bigger labour market will experience higher wages and lower unemployment rates, attracting migrants from other regions and thus accelerating the process of regional divergence. At the same time, larger labour market frictions in the smaller regions reduce firms’ incentives to hire there, curtailing cross-regional hiring and hence the opportunity to move for a specific job. The interaction of these two forces give rise to multiple equilibria and explain how, in the presence of labour market frictions, regional disparities can be large and persistent at the same time.
Supervisor: Adams, A. ; Stevens, M. Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: labour economics