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The Effect of Economic Incentives on Residential Mobility and Migration in Hungary, 1990-1999

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Mobility in Hungary is a relatively infrequent phenomenon of which we have mostly aggregate-level information. Here I use settlement- and individual-level data to show a more elaborate picture of the Hungarian population moving across settlements and regions between 1990 and 1999. Using a simple economic model, I estimate the probabilities of moving house both from aggregate and individual data, and look at its response to economic incentives given by geographic differences in wages and unemployment. Three main results emerge. Firstly, the flow of people does follow wage and unemployment differences as expected, although exact parameter estimates vary considerably if different data and a matching model is used. Secondly, it is confirmed that in many regions of the country there are forces at work, especially a strong trend of suburban development, driving movement against the prediction of the simple model. Thirdly temporary movers, especially students seem to be rather influential contributors to flows we observe at the aggregate level. This makes collection of specialised data or the creation of an elaborate model that takes them into account, necessary in the long term, too.
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Keywords: migration; regional differences; residential mobility

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 13 December 2003

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