When people migrate internally, do they tend to move to locations that reflect their political preferences? To address this question, we first compile a unique panel dataset on the universe of population movements in England and Wales across 346 local authority districts over the period 2002-2015, and estimate a gravity model of internal migration. We show that proximity in partisan composition exerts an important positive effect on migration flows, which is of a similar order of magnitude as wage differentials or ethnic proximity. We then use individual survey- based data over the same time period to investigate some of the micro-foundations underlying the “macromoves”. We find that political alignment to the district of residence contributes to individuals’ sense of belonging and ‘fitting in’ – consistent with the existence of a political homophily mechanism – and that a migrant’s political ideology can predict the partisanship of the destination district.
Joint work with Georgios Efthyvoulou and Harry Pickard
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