Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Chambers College of Business and Economics



Committee Chair

Brian J. Cushing.


This dissertation is a collection of papers examining the consequences and determinants of population migration at the state and county level. The first chapter introduces the importance of domestic migration in the United States and briefly presents the issues that are covered in this work. The second chapter focuses on the possibility that state outmigration could result in reduced support of public higher education. Some authors have hypothesized that forward-looking state legislators respond to outmigration of certain age groups by reducing appropriations to higher education. In the empirical model, outmigration is disaggregated into six age groups to examine varying effects of migration on public finances over the life-cycle. The third chapter shifts focus to consider environmental contamination as a determinant of county migration flows. While a number of location-specific amenities have been considered in the migration literature, a rigorous examination of the effects of environmental degradation is absent. The spatial autoregressive model is utilized to account for spatial dependence in the measurements of inmigration, outmigration, and net migration disaggregated by poverty status. The results show that toxic chemical releases reduce the rate of inmigration and net migration for the poor and nonpoor. Hazardous air pollutant emissions are then introduced to the model and are associated with a decreased rate of inmigration and outmigration for the poor and nonpoor. The fourth chapter is an extension of the third and considers the effects of air pollution and air quality on county migration flows. Substantial differences could exist between migrant responses to the measures of contamination in the third chapter and the air quality measures used in this chapter. Air pollution is strictly regulated and air quality information is widely available. The estimates show that increased air pollutant emissions reduce nonpoor inmigration, outmigration, and net migration and poor inmigration and outmigration. The effects of nonattainment designation for exceeding allowable ambient concentrations are more pronounced. The results are confirmed when alternate measures of emissions and air quality are employed. The fifth chapter concludes and discusses future extensions.