Internal migration, regional labor markets and the role of agglomeration economies

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We analyze the determinants and regional implications of internal migration flows across Danish municipalities in 2006–2012. Besides assessing the role of labor market and housing market factors in driving a region’s net migration rate, we particularly focus on agglomeration factors identified by “new” migration theories related to regional growth models and the new economic geography. The work contributes to the field in the following way: we extend the scarce literature on the different channels through which agglomeration economies act as an attractor for mobile labor. Moreover, we account for the role of space–time dynamic adjustment processes and simultaneity among migration and labor market variables and finally test for heterogeneity in the migration response to regional labor market disparities among low- and high-skilled migrants. Our results support the view that agglomeration economies are indeed key drivers of internal migration flows in Denmark. That is, while we obtain mixed evidence with regard to the role of traditional labor and housing market variables, most of the included proxies for agglomeration economies such as the region’s population density, patent intensity, endowment with human capital as well as the region’s employment share of knowledge-intensive services are positively correlated with the region’s net in-migration rate. Regarding the regional implications of internal migration flows, the results hint at a process of cumulative causation for the time period of analysis running from agglomeration economies to the inflow of mobile labor and subsequent regional income development.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Annals of Regional Science
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)61-101
Publication statusPublished - 21. Aug 2015


  • C23
  • J61
  • O31
  • R11


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