Regional determinants of job-related mobility

Sebastian Bähr, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) and Institute for Employment Research (IAB)

Regional mobility is seen as a vital mechanism to align spatially unequal distributed supply of and demand for labour. In Germany – as in other European countries – there are considerable regional disparities in regional employment levels and low shares of internal mobility. Previous research suggests that entrapment effects of unfavourable regional contexts could be to blame, because they hinder an individual’s mobility thus perpetuating disparities (e.g., Windzio 2004). We analyse the effects of regional context factors on the willingness to relocate for given interregional job offers, by combining an factorial survey module (FSM) with data from the German “Labour market and social security” (PASS) panel study. By employing an experimental design, we observe not only selective realised behaviour but can draw our inference from the whole spectrum of the decision making process. The detailed panel data enable us to consider moderating household level and individual effects on the regional influences. We combine multilevel modelling with spatial regression to take account of both the hierarchical data structure and context influences that go beyond just the local region. Our contribution provides an innovative in-depth analysis and helps to answer the following research questions: What role do effects of the region of residence play in influencing individuals’ decisions about out-migration? How are these context effects moderated by social environment factors or the household level? Are unemployed individuals, which could profit from job-related mobility in particular, especially prone to regional entrapment effects? This research can foster the understanding of the dynamics of contextual effects in decisions about mobility that ultimately can help to improve matching on the labour market thus increasing welfare.

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Presented in Session 56: Determinants of internal migration and mobility