Migration Networks and Location Decisions: Evidence from U.S. Mass Migration

September 2017

Bryan Stuart and Evan Taylor 

IIEP Working Paper 2017-26

Abstract: This paper examines the effects of birth town migration networks on location decisions. We study over one million long-run location decisions made during two landmark migration episodes by African Americans from the U.S. South and whites from the Great Plains. We develop a new method to estimate the strength of migration networks for each receiving and sending location. Our estimates imply that when one randomly chosen African American moves from a birth town to a destination county, then 1.9 additional black migrants make the same move on average. For white migrants from the Great Plains, the average is only 0.4. Networks were particularly important in connecting black migrants with attractive employment opportunities and played a larger role in less costly moves.

JEL: J61, N32, O15, R23, Z13

Keywords: migration networks, location decisions, social interactions, Great Migration

The Long-Run Effects of Recessions on Education and Income

August 2017

Bryan Stuart

IIEP Working Paper 2017-25

Abstract: This paper examines the long-run effects of the 1980-1982 recession on education and income. Using confidential Census data, I estimate difference-in-differences regressions that exploit variation across counties in recession severity and across cohorts in age at the time of the recession. For individuals age 0-10 in 1979, a 10 percent decrease in earnings per capita in their county of birth reduces four-year college degree attainment by 9 percent and income in adulthood by 3 percent. Simple calculations suggest that, in aggregate, the 1980-1982 recession led to 1-3 million fewer college graduates and $64-$145 billion less earned income per year.

JEL Classification Codes: E32, I20, I30, J13, J24

Keywords: human capital, education, income, recessions

The Effect of Social Connectedness on Crime: Evidence from the Great Migration

August 2017

Bryan Stuart and Evan Taylor

IIEP Working Paper 2017-24

Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of social connectedness on crime across U.S. cities from 1960- 2009. Migration networks among African Americans from the South generated variation across destinations in the concentration of migrants from the same birth town. Using this novel source of variation, we find that social connectedness considerably reduces murders, robberies, assaults, burglaries, larcenies, and motor vehicle thefts, with a one standard deviation increase in social connectedness reducing murders by 13 percent and motor vehicle thefts by 9 percent. Our results appear to be driven by stronger relationships among older generations reducing crime committed by youth.

JEL Classification Codes: K42, N32, R23, Z13

Keywords: crime, social connectedness, Great Migration

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