Technology, Age Effects, and the Homogenization of U.S. Metropolitan Areas: 1970-2000

Katherine Bartley, University of Pennsylvania

Computer and telecommunications technologies potentially affect migration in two ways: by creating locational flexibility, and by influencing an area’s economic prospects. Within 99 MSAs, I examine three occupations-- high technology, manufacturing and finance--that were influenced by innovations between 1970 and 2000. As expected, the results show that high concentrations of high-technology and finance occupations generally have a positive pull for migrants, with younger migrants most attracted to technology jobs. High-concentrations of manufacturing jobs have a negative effect. Surprisingly however, the explanatory power of the model declines substantially across the three decades. The decline is driven by decreases in the variation of in-migration and of the occupation variables, most notably manufacturing. Additionally, the age composition of the population became more similar over the period. These patterns illustrate an increasing homogenization of MSAs between 1970-2000 in terms of: employment opportunity in these three innovating occupations, age patterns and levels of in-migration.

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Presented in Session 46: Intermetropolitan Migration in the United States