LOCATION-SPECIFIC HUMAN CAPITAL, LOCATION CHOICE AND AMENITY DEMAND
The role of amenities in the flow of migrants has long been a subject of debate. This paper advances an original model of amenities that work through household production instead of directly through utility. Area characteristics (amenities) affect household production, causing certain kinds of human capital investments to be rewarded more than others. Area heterogeneity thus makes such investments location-specific. This specificity—along with a period of exogenous location—increases the opportunity costs of moving, diminishes migration flows between dissimilar locations and increases valuation of amenities that were present in the originating area. These theoretical results emphasize people's sorting across areas and thus differ from the results of the standard model of compensating differentials. Empirical tests of the model's predictions using NLSY79 data show that childhood investments affect migration flows in the way proposed by the model.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: IZA, Schaumburg-Lippe-Street 5-9, D-53113 Bonn, Germany., Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publication date: 2009-12-01