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42nd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "From Industry to Advanced Services - Perspectives of European Metropolitan Regions", August 27th - 31st, 2002, Dortmund, Germany
Recent research shows that labour market related factors are becoming less important as reasons behind migration in Sweden. Factors that relate to the regional milieu are on the other hand becoming more important. This, together with the fact that culturally active groups in the population (e.g. people with higher education and retirees) are growing, has given rise to the notion that culture is of increasing regional importance. Culture is in some political contexts assumed to attract residents, tourists and firms and thus increase the quality of life, employment as well as the creativity of the population. It's also thought to strengthen the regional identity. There are however processes that complicates this line of reasoning. People are becoming more mobile; they commute over longer distances, they travel more and they often reside in more than one place. Culture on the other hand is becoming more easily accessible through different electronic media thus over bridging geographical distances. Both these processes challenge the role of the regional. The objectives of the paper are: 1) to investigate the importance of the cultural infrastructure in relation to other regional and individual conditions when people choose home region and 2) to study the complexity of this choice, not only considering individual preferences but also exploring the importance of work, mobility and recreational activities. The paper presents a theoretical model of what factors are of importance when people choose home region. The theoretical framework is in part based on Pierre Bourdieu's concepts of economic, social and symbolic (cultural) capital. The nature and magnitude of these individual assets are thought to be of importance when choosing home region. The paper further more recognizes that these forms of capital can be more or less geographically embedded. Geographically embedded assets has in migration literature been called insider advantages, a concept discussed and developed in the paper. Insider advantages are assets that are impossible or costly to bring, replace or make use of in another region, e.g. real estate property, friends, work colleagues, the local choir or knowledge about a place. The larger insider advantages a person has got, the larger the cost of moving. The study is based on a questionnaire sent to 3,000 persons, 30 to 35 years residing in Sweden 2001. The study involves people with degrees in civil engineering, fine arts, media-communication, teaching (upper-secondary schoolteachers) and an additional group of people with upper secondary education as highest education. The paper argues that the capacity to attract people by offering a good quality of life is of crucial importance for regional competitiveness. In studying regional attractiveness, it's important not only to consider what makes people move to a certain region but also what makes people willing to stay. It further more argues that the explanations should be sought in a mix of individual and regional factors as well as in the social and geographical context of the individual.
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