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Interpreting the Effect of Distance on Migration

Aba Schwartz
Journal of Political Economy
Vol. 81, No. 5 (Sep. - Oct., 1973), pp. 1153-1169
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1830643
Page Count: 17
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Interpreting the Effect of Distance on Migration
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Abstract

In this paper I discuss the economic (and other) determinants of the adverse effect of distance on migration, which is demonstrated by the negative distance elasticity of migration flows. These determinants are sorted and classified into two groups: (1) increasing (with distance) psychic cost and (2) diminishing (with distance) information. I further discuss how aging and education respectively influence the relative importance of these two groups. Using data on flows of migrants cross-classified by age and by education, I estimate the effect of age and education on the distance elasticity of migration. The statistical hypothesis that aging does not affect the distance elasticity whereas increasing education strongly diminishes the absolute value of the distance elasticity is accepted. The acceptance of this hypothesis, coupled with my theoretical consideration, implies that the adverse effect of distance on migration is basically a diminishing-information phenomena.

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