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Friendship ties and geographical mobility: evidence from Great Britain

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A common finding in analyses of geographic mobility is a strong association between past movement and current mobility. We argue that one of the driving forces behind this pattern is the strength of local social ties outside the household. We use data from the British Household Panel Survey on the location of the three closest friends and the frequency of meetings with them. We estimate the processes of friendship formation and residential mobility jointly, allowing for correlation between the two processes. Our results show that a larger number of close friends living nearby substantially reduces movement of 20 miles or more.

Keywords: Friendship formation; Geographical mobility; Social ties

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Essex, Colchester, UK 2: University of Essex, Colchester, UK, and Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, Germany

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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