Given the importance to businesses of having a better understanding of factors that influence migration, this study argues that there are two dimensions of the quality of life and economic opportunities that have largely been ignored in previously published studies of migration patterns in the U.S.: the impacts of (1) the costs of commuting between one’s residence and one’s place of employment and (2) apartment rent-levels and single-family housing price levels. It is hypothesized here that the greater the commute time between one’s prospective place of residence and one’s prospective place of employment, the greater the costs associated with in-migration to that potential residence in terms not only of the value of time expended round-trip in commuting but also the opportunity costs and mental health costs (stress) of that time along with the greater pecuniary costs that accompany longer commutes. Therefore, it is hypothesized that in-migration to an area is a decreasing function of commute time associated with that area. A second hypothesis proffered here is that greater housing-cost levels reduce disposable real income and hence utility. More specifically, we argue that either higher apartment rent levels or higher prices on single family homes reduce disposable real income and thereby reduce household well-being; hence, in-migration to an area is hypothesized to be a decreasing function of those higher rent levels and higher home prices. Based upon panel 2SLS estimates, where net in-migration and gross in-migration over the 2010-2017 period are separately considered, there is strong initial empirical support for both hypotheses.
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Cebula, Richard J.
"Migration, the Quality of Life, and Economic Opportunities in the U.S. Revisited: Impacts of Round-Trip Work Commute Time and Rent or Single-Family Housing Prices,"
American Business Review: Vol. 25:
2, Article 9.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.newhaven.edu/americanbusinessreview/vol25/iss2/9