Cyclical sensitivity of British internal migration since the 1980s: Some anecdotal evidence

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This paper examines short-term changes in the spatial mobility of various groups of the British population in order to explore the reasons why spatial mobility diminishes during a recession. The analysis reveals that mobility of owner-occupiers had been particularly sensitive to economic fluctuations related to severe fluctuations in the housing market since the 1980s. In addition to the decline in purchases of new houses during the recession, house price deflation acted to shorten the length of 'vacancy chains', resulting in a severe limitation in housing liquidity. The result is a further lowering of spatial mobility among owner-occupier households. Changes in the job turnover rate also contributed in lowering spatial mobility, but not by lowering the spatial mobility of those who change job. The spatial mobility of persons who changed job did not diminish during the recession, it was instead the opportunities to change jobs that was substantially reduced, thereby decreasing the aggregate occurrence of migration. This suggests that slowdown in the labour market adjustment process during a recession is responsible for the reduced labour demand rather than for the hesitation in the supply-side of the labour market due to increased risk and uncertainty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-109
Number of pages25
JournalScience Reports of the Tohoku University, Series 7: Geography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Dec 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Business cycle
  • Great Britain
  • Housing market
  • Job turnover
  • Labour Force Survey
  • Spatial mobility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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