Saturday, August 18, 2012

Go...anywhere, young man

The best of Berkeley (Brad DeLong should listen to this man, who is a doctor (Phd) too);

Compared with Europeans, Americans tend to live farther from their parents and siblings. They are less attached to their neighborhoods and less familiar with their neighbors. But there are also advantages to mobility: If the economic conditions in a region aren't particularly good, Americans tend to look for better opportunities somewhere else. By contrast, Italians and other Europeans tend to stay put. They give up career opportunities and higher salaries to be close to their parents and friends.
Among Americans, however, there are large differences, with some groups much more willing to move than others. At the time of the Great Migration in the 1920s—when more than two million African-Americans abandoned the South for industrial centers in other regions—less-educated individuals were more likely to migrate in search of better lives. Today, the opposite is true: The more education a person has, the more mobile he or she is. College graduates have the highest mobility of all, workers with a community-college education are less mobile, high-school graduates are even less and dropouts are the least mobile of all. 
What could be done?  Well, maybe make the unemployed more mobile by using their unemployment benefits to fund it.  Pay them to move to where there are jobs, not to stay in place where there are none, or few.

(Thanks to Prof. Craig Newmark for the pointer)

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