DP13615 Calling from the outside: The role of networks in residential mobility

Author(s): Konstantin Buechel, Diego Puga, Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal, Maximilian von Ehrlich
Publication Date: March 2019
Date Revised: March 2019
Keyword(s): cellphone data, residential mobility, Social Networks
JEL(s): R23
Programme Areas: International Trade and Regional Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=13615

Using anonymised cellphone data, we study the role of social networks in residential mobility decisions. Individuals with few local contacts are more likely to change residence. Movers strongly prefer places with more of their contacts close-by. Contacts matter because proximity to them is itself valuable and increases the enjoyment of attractive locations. They also provide hard-to-find local information and reduce frictions, especially in home-search. Local contacts who left recently or are more central are particularly influential. As people age, proximity to family gains importance relative to friends.