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James V. Koch

Increasing attention has been given to non-public goods and to the impact that amenities have upon migration. A micro-industry now exists that sees real and presumed experts comparing the attributes of one metropolitan area to another in various publications. Do these rankings reflect real-world differences among metropolitan areas such that they subsequently influence factors such as domestic migration? Using a large sample comprised of 358 metropolitan areas in the United States between 2010 and 2013, I test and find evidence for the proposition that amenities rankings capture useful information that enables us to better explain why individuals choose to migrate from one metropolitan area to another. While amenities clearly count, they are quantitatively much less important than jobs in determining domestic migration rates among metropolitan areas.