Academic journal article Journal of Private Enterprise

Migration, Economic Freedom, and Personal Freedom: An Empirical Analysis

Academic journal article Journal of Private Enterprise

Migration, Economic Freedom, and Personal Freedom: An Empirical Analysis

Article excerpt

I. Introduction

Greater economic and personal/political freedoms are conducive to a private enterprise environment that promotes greater economic development and growth. Indeed, these freedoms promote private enterprise in a variety of ways, and Ashby (2010) demonstrated that both economic and political freedom are significant determinants of migration between countries. Furthermore, the greater the success of freedom in promoting private enterprise, the greater the degree to which higher living standards, higher economic growth, and more extensive economic development are manifested (Ali, 1997; Cole, 2003; Dawson, 2003; Farr, Lord, and Wolfenbarger, 1998; Goldsmith, 1995).

The economic history of the United States essentially began with the immigration of people, principally from Europe, in search of freedom, with freedom broadly interpreted to include religious freedom along with other forms of freedom. Arguably, the Revolutionary War was primarily based on a quest for greater political, personal, and economic freedom, and today the media abounds with examples of the extreme lengths to which individuals will go to gain those freedoms. Every day large numbers of illegal immigrants risk life and fortune, with significant numbers dying in the process, to cross international borders in search of a better life.

Freedom also significantly affects the decision to migrate between and among states. For example, as America was being settled and becoming home to increased numbers of persons seeking freedom in one form or another, movement to the West increased. After the Civil War, whose roots included varying perspectives on the issues of economic freedom (such as tariffs) and personal and political freedom (including slavery), migration to the West assumed greater proportions, initially taking the form of "pioneers" joining wagon trains and later promoted by the building of the railroad system into the West. The prospects of becoming economically independent and successful in an environment characterized by economic freedom and private enterprise such that one could reap the rewards of one's hard work, risk-taking, and ingenuity was a powerful magnet for both descendants of immigrants and to some degree even new immigrants to move to the West. Thus, historically, it appears that both immigration to the United States and subsequent internal migration across the United States, which itself was expanding its borders and influence to the Pacific, ultimately under the banner of "manifest destiny," was intimately linked to the interrelated phenomena of economic, personal, and political freedom and private enterprise (Vedder, 1976).

Migration determinants within the United States have been extensively researched, especially for the post World War II era (Percy, Hawkins, and Maier, 1995; Carrington, Detragiache, and Vishwanath, 1996; Nechyba, 2000; Conway and Houtenville, 1998, 2001; Chi and Voss, 2005; Cebula and Alexander, 2006; Partridge and Rickman, 2006; Francis, 2007; Landry et al., 2007; Schoolland, 2004; Subrick, Heap, and Mitchell, 2009). This continued research into migration can be attributed to a variety of factors, including concerns about gain or loss of tax base; increases or decreases in the demand for public schools, water and sewerage systems, and other public services; the identification of locations with better employment opportunities or better company expansion opportunities; and the shift in political power resulting from emerging internal migration patterns. The factors considered within the context of internal/ 'domestic migration determinants are extremely diverse. By and large, the mainstream migration literature finds migrants being attracted to areas with lower living costs, better employment and income prospects, lower state income taxes, and a warmer climate. However, Ashby (2007) demonstrated that states with higher relative economic freedom experience greater migration inflows through its direct impact on income and employment growth. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.