Cannot keep up with the Joneses: how relative deprivation pushes internal migration in Austria

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articlepeer-review


Using aggregated data at the municipality level allows the authors to assess the role of relative deprivation (RD) – a measure of income inequality – on top of absolute income in shaping internal migration in Austria.
In this study, the authors analyse the effect of regional income inequality on emigration rates of Austrian municipalities using a unique spatial dataset that is constructed based on Austrian administrative register data. The register-based data contain information on the municipality of residence of all individuals aged 16 and over that have their main residency in Austria, as well as their income and socio-demographic characteristics.
The authors find that increases in relative deprivation in a municipality are related to higher emigration from the municipality. Allowing for heterogeneous effects across income, education and age groups reveals that the effect is stronger among those with comparably low levels of income and among low-skilled and young individuals.
The unique spatially disaggregated perspective is based on novel data from Austrian administrative registers, which comprehensively capture the economic situation and geographic movements of the whole Austrian population. Most importantly, this approach allows for measuring income inequality within local communities and for a direct identification of social groups that are more sensitive to inequality.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Social Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (ÖFOS)

  • 502010 Public finance
  • 502025 Econometrics
  • 502046 Economic policy
  • 507016 Regional economy

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