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Differences in Opportunities? Wage, Employment and House-Price Effects on Migration


  • We thank Stephen Jenkins, Cheti Nicoletti, Steve Pudney and two anonymous referees for their useful comments and suggestions. This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) through the Research Centre on Micro-Social Change (MiSoC) (award no. RES-518-28-001). British Household Panel Survey data are available from the UK Data Archive (


Most empirical studies of individual migration choice analyse factors associated with out-migration from an origin location. In contrast, we model the migration decision within the context of potential destinations, combining British panel data over the period 1992–2008 with other data sources. Contrary to earlier micro studies, we show that differences in house prices levels (but not growth) are important determinants of household migration for homeowners. Unemployed individuals respond to regional differences in expected individual wages, whereas the employed are more sensitive to employment opportunities. Our evidence is consistent with partners of heads of households being tied migrants.