The Big Sort: Selective Migration and the Decline of Northern England, 1780-2018

40 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2018

See all articles by Gregory Clark

Gregory Clark

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics

Neil Cummins

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economic History

Date Written: June 2018

Abstract

Abstract The North of England is now poorer and less educated than the South. Using complete population data at the surname level 1837-2006, and a large sample of individuals born 1780-1929, this paper shows two things. First an important element in the decline of the North was selective outmigration of those with education and talent. This migration is evident even for the generation born 1780-1809, and continued to those born 1900-1929. There was also selective migration to the South of those with education and talent coming from outside England - Irish, Scottish, Pakistanis and others. However the migration of talent to the South created no significant external benefits to workers in the South, as would be predicted by the doctrines of the New Economic Geography. Surnames concentrated in the North do not show any national disadvantage in education, occupation or wealth. Also for workers of a given education or social background there is at most a very modest locational disadvantage associated with being born in the North. Thus there will be no efficiency gain from facilitating further migration south from the North, or from further efforts to bolster the economy of the North through government aid.

Keywords: new economic geography, regional growth, sorting in labor market

Suggested Citation

Clark, Gregory and Cummins, Neil, The Big Sort: Selective Migration and the Decline of Northern England, 1780-2018 (June 2018). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP13023, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3206788

Gregory Clark (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics ( email )

One Shields Drive
Davis, CA 95616-8578
United States

Neil Cummins

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economic History ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.neilcummins.com

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