Terje Wessel and Lena Magnusson Turner: The migration pathway to economic mobility: Does gender matter?

Published in Population, Space and Place, 2020.

Cover of the journal Population, Space and Place


Terje Wessel

Lena Magnusson Turner


Inter‐regional migration is conventionally seen as an important path to economic mobility. We investigate this proposition for Norway, focusing on earnings rank in the 1974 birth cohort. Our data include migrations and educational achievements between 1990 and 2009, with added information for parental background from 1988 to 1992. We measure annual earnings between 1990 and 2014, with measures that capture static effects, dynamic effects and long‐term outcomes. Using a structural equation model and fixed‐effects regression, we show that upward spatial migration across three geographical levels has different impacts for men and women. The benefit compared with peers who stay at lower levels, or peers who move in the opposite direction, is larger for women. This difference is due to migration before finished education and is linked to employment opportunities in origin locations. Female migrants obtain higher upward economic mobility through increased work hours and shift of industrial sector; that is, women do not obtain higher wage for the same type of work. Much of the difference materialises immediately after relocation (‘static effect’); it also depends on destination: Oslo is relatively favourable to women, possibly because this region has a quintessential post‐industrial structure and a well‐developed transport system.

Read the article in Population, Space and Place.

Published Jan. 5, 2021 10:13 AM - Last modified Jan. 5, 2021 10:13 AM