Purdue University Graduate School
Policy_Induced_Migration_in_the_United_States.pdf (4.34 MB)


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posted on 2021-07-22, 14:46 authored by Daniel BoninDaniel Bonin
State and local adoption/repeal of highly polarized policies causes migration responses both out of and into the affected region. Interpreting the responses as revealed policy pref?erences leads to the conclusion that marijuana legalization and abortion waiting periods had been favored nationally, while gay marriage had been opposed. Policy preferences are geographically heterogeneous, which leads to different responses across counties. From 1992- 2017, these policy changes reduced domestic migration by two percent, which is approxi?mately 20% of the total migration decline. The migration changes, via partisan sorting, accounted for a significant share of the increased political polarization from 2012-2016 in western, urban, and swing counties.

In cases where unmarried parents have joint physical custody of their child(ren), there is a wide range of default relocation restrictions that depend on their state of origin. Using IRS county-to-county migration data, demographic data from the ACS, and state relocation restrictions gathered from divorce law websites, I study the impact of these default reloca?tion restrictions on domestic US migration. Results from both regression discontinuity and selection on observables designs, find about 10% - 30% less migration to counties that are outside the allowed relocation range. This migration friction is shown to strengthen from 1992 - 2012, as both joint physical custody and unmarried parents became more common, thereby contributing to the decline in domestic US migration.

In the United States, between 2004 and 2008, 28 states increased their minimum wage; the national minimum wage was increased in 2007. The average migration response to these increases was a 3% change in migration away from a one dollar increase. These effects are not distributed evenly across the population. People from more impacted demographic groups are more likely to move away from minimum wage increases.


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Economics

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Kevin Mumford

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee co-chair

Jillian Carr

Additional Committee Member 2

Farid Farrokhi

Additional Committee Member 3

Timothy Moore