Effects of Regional Labour Markets on Migration Flows, by Education Level


  • We would like to thank an anonymous referee, seminar participants in Trondheim and participants at the ERSA 2010 Congress for helpful comments. The usual disclaimer applies.

Fredrik Carlsen (author for correspondence), E-mail: fredrik.carlsen@svt.ntnu.no.


European economies display large variations in unemployment rates across regions as well as between education groups. Insufficient labour mobility is widely believed to contribute to higher regional disparities and overall unemployment, but few studies have compared mobility responses of different education groups to regional shocks. This paper employs administrative registers covering the entire Norwegian population to compute annual time series from 1994 to 2004 of migration flows and regional labour market conditions by education level for 90 travel-to-work areas. We find that regional disparities in unemployment rates are decreasing in education level, whereas the response of migration flows to regional unemployment shocks is increasing in education level. The results suggest that low regional mobility of low-educated workers may contribute to higher regional disparities and higher overall unemployment among the low educated.