With the exception of Progressive Keynesians, I love it when Economists get into the realm of Social Phenomena, which is typically reserved for Sociology because Economists like to look at the picture they want to see instead of the picture that really exists, regardless if there is an actual reason why the picture exists.
Case in point is the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, who recently released a report migration. Basically, they said people are moving less between states over time. This is true. The hypothesis is that people are moving between states less because there is no opportunities elsewhere that people can’t find in their own backyard. Wages, occupations, and economic opportunities as a whole are the same no matter where you go (it’s all bad everywhere). This may also be true, and the Fed makes a great case in their paper.
However, there is at least one question to ask in trying to figure out “why”, and that is “who” is moving? This is where Sociology comes in. Sociology tends to ask the Who, What, Where, When, and Why when it comes to social phenomena. Economists tend to assume Social phenomena. Time for charts:
Using the same data (the CPS Migration data from the Census Bureau, in case anyone wants to check my Excel Work) that the Fed authors used, something very stark comes into play when answering the “who” question. Lots of people are moving TO the southern states, mostly from the midwest, and the curve on unemployed movers almost matches.
It’s a social Phenomena, that clearly cannot be totally answered by Economics alone.