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Voting with Your Feet: Political Competition and Internal Migration in the United States

Liu, Wai-Man and Ngo, Phong (2012): Voting with Your Feet: Political Competition and Internal Migration in the United States.

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Abstract

Do people "vote with their feet" due to a lack of political competition? We formalize the theory of political competition and migration to show that increasing political competition lowers political rent leading to net in-migration. Our empirical application using US data supports this prediction. We �find that an increase in political competition - in the order of magnitude observed in US Southern states during the post-war period - leads to an increase in net migration of approximately 36 individuals per 1000 population. In comparison, birth rates over the last century ranged between 70 and 150 births per 1000 population.

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