SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 562
This paper assesses a recent prediction of the theoretical migration literature, according to which migration may be driven by a desire to avoid social humiliation rising from occupational stigma. To this end, we study the residential mobility of workers in occupations with relatively low prestige using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP). In order to capture low occupational prestige, we relate the prestige of a worker's current occupation to the average prestige of the occupations associated with the worker's vocational training. Our estimation results suggest a negative relationship between the incidence of low occupational prestige and the probability of internal migration in Germany and thus reject our working hypothesis. We discuss the role of specific migration costs and occupational cultures as possible explanations of this result. The absolute prestige level of a worker's occupation does not turn out to be a significant predictor of his propensity to migrate, whereas his absolute income level - but not his relative income level - is significantly positively related to this propensity.
internal migration Germany occupational status occupational prestige income vocational training