A Revealed-Preference Approach to Measuring Information Frictions in Migration

Abstract

We examine whether workers’ limited migration responses to local shocks are due to lack of information about the potential gains from regional migration. We analyze the mobility decisions of all formally employed workers in Brazil over 15 years. We derive model-based moment conditions to test for the content of migrants’ information sets. First, we find that individuals located in regions with a better access to internet and a higher population density have richer information sets overall. Second, information is concentrated on few neighboring regions and on regions with population sharing similar education and racial composition. Third, individuals identifying as white and with a higher educational attainment feature richer information sets.

Publication
Working Paper