Hither or Thither? Migration Patterns among UK Graduates and the implications for Regional Economic Disparities Tuesday Seminar ISER External Seminars

Regional disparities in economic performance are among the most pronounced and pervasive characteristics of advanced economies. In the UK in 2004 GVA per capita was just £13,524 in the North East, compared to £26,262 per head in London. At the NUTS 3 level these inequalities are even greater, with per capita figures of £9,485 and £72,485 in the Gwent valleys and Central London respectively. Workforce skill levels have long been recognised as important determinants of local economic performance, and have earned human capital a justified place at the centre of the literature on economic growth, the new economic geography as well as in urban and business economics. Attracting and retaining human capital is now widely seen as a crucial ingredient for regional success.

This paper examines how concentrations of human capital develop by exploring what attracts highly-skilled individuals to particular regions in the UK. Using data on the population of graduates from British universities in 2005-06, it examines the individual migration decisions of students from different regions and universities, different subjects and age groups to gain an understanding of the drivers of inter-regional migration amongst the highly-skilled. It uses a multinomial logistic model to explore how different regional economic and social conditions affect migration decisions in an explicitly spatial framework, and controls for a host of individual, academic, regional and social effects. The results are informative and generate a number of surprising conclusions. They highlight the importance of urban centres, with high levels of workforce participation and demonstrate dramatic differences in inter-regional migration among students of different subjects. Finally, the paper assesses the effects of student migration on both home- and destination-regions, and draws a range of policy relevant conclusions.

Presented by:

Maria Abreu (Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge) Co-authors: Michael Kitson, Philip David Wales

Date & time:

9 Dec 2008 16:00 pm - 9 Dec 2008 17:00 pm


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