Migration Networks and Location Decisions: Evidence from US Mass Migration†

Bryan A. Stuart, Evan J. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


This paper studies how birth town migration networks affected long-run location decisions during historical US migration episodes. We develop a new method to estimate the strength of migration networks for each receiving and sending location. Our estimates imply that when one randomly chosen African American moved from a Southern birth town to a destination county, then 1.9 additional Black migrants made the same move on average. For White migrants from the Great Plains, the average is only 0.4. Networks were particularly important in connecting Black migrants with attractive employment opportunities and played a larger role in less costly moves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)134-175
Number of pages42
JournalAmerican Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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