People who moved to another location to study are also more likely to switch labor market regions later in life. This is shown for the first time in an ifo Institute study looking at graduates from Munich’s suburbs. “Designing good location policies, especially for rural regions, relies on understanding what leads highly skilled workers to relocate,” says coauthor Valentin Lindlacher.

Medium-sized enterprises are often based in rural regions.

They contribute a large share of the German economy’s value added. Universities, meanwhile, are traditionally located in metropolitan areas. “The success of regional economic policy depends to a large extent on finding a highly skilled workforce,” says coauthor Thomas Fackler.

Lindlacher says: “For Munich university graduates, the greater the distance between their secondary school and university, the more likely it is that they will subsequently move to another labor market region for their first job.” Someone who graduated from high school 30 kilometers from the nearest university is nearly 30 percentage points more likely to relocate to study than someone who went to school only 15 kilometers from the university. Fackler adds: “A few extra kilometers in someone’s initial move to attend university can increase workforce mobility later on in their careers.” Conversely, offering discounted local transport tickets for students might not just attract high school graduates, but also reduce the rate at which local university graduates leave to start their careers elsewhere.

The data for the study comes from the Bavarian Graduate Panel, which conducts written surveys of university students across all fields of study. The surveys record characteristics such as course of study, first job, location of high school graduation, and other socioeconomic factors. The geographical data is recorded in the form of postal codes.

Article (in German only): “How Can the Labor Market Mobility of University Graduates Be Increased?” by Thomas A. Fackler and Valentin Lindlacher, in ifo Schnelldienst 10/2022

Available online here.


Source: ifo Insititute