PEOPLE’S MOBILITY, LABOR MARKET DISEQUILIBRIUM, AND RURAL DEVELOPMENT
We live in an era of mobility: moving of products, service, information, ideas, knowledge, culture and – most importantly – people. People’s mobility connects places and is affected by the difference between places. Rural areas are losing young working adults to urban areas, but they are also attracting amenity-led urban in-migrants at the same time. The rural-urban connection by people and the rural-urban divide in development needs to be examined in a comprehensive research framework linking people’s mobility with places. This research creates a new spatial disequilibrium framework to analyze both commuting and migration. This framework integrates the individual mobility theory and location theory, and uses the county pair as the unit of analysis to link people from both the sending place and the receiving place. The spatial disequilibrium includes the local labor market mismatch in skill and employment within the sending place, as well as the regional disequilibrium between the sending place and the receiving place in the labor markets, housing markets, and amenity markets. The empirical study uses the Group Logit model to examine factors driving people’s commuting and migration between metro and nonmetro counties. In this way, this research implements the new spatial disequilibrium framework on rural development. This research finds that the local labor market imbalance drives people’s flow: if residents cannot find a skill matched job, or cannot find a local job they will move out. This research also find that homeownership and amenity cost impede rural residents’ mobility, while homeownership in urban areas and a higher quality of amenity in rural areas motivates urban residents to move to rural communities. This research provides several recommendations for rural development policy. Rural development could 1) decrease the local labor market mismatch, including helping residents find skill matched jobs, and encourage high skill entrepreneurship, 2) combine place-based policy and people-based policy to increase the commuting capacity of rural residents, including regional transportation infrastructure, and flexible transportation services, 3) sustain amenity-led development, including increasing rental housing and affordable housing, and encouraging urban in-migrants to participate in local development. The interaction between spatial disequilibrium and people’s mobility could form a more balanced rural-urban system which could sustain rural development in the long term.
Labor mobility; Rural development; Spatial disequilibrium
Warner, Mildred E.
Donaghy, Kieran Patrick; Lichter, Daniel T.
Ph. D., Regional Science
Doctor of Philosophy
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
dissertation or thesis
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