Date of Award


Degree Type



Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs

First Advisor

Rosentraub, Mark

Subject Headings

Cities and towns, Migration, Internal, Quality of life, Human capital, Skilled labor, Labor mobility, Amenities, Human Capital, Migration, Panel data


Across the past two decades, public officials have debated and social scientists have studied the importance of tourist amenities in attracting and retaining human capital. Few studies, however, have examined the relationship between tourist amenities and the migration of educated workers. Information of this nature is needed by public officials considering the best use of tax dollars to attract human capital and advance local economies. This dissertation addresses this need an analysis of the relationship between built amenities and the migration of educated workers. This study's focus was on the importance of built amenities such as sports facilities, museums, and restaurants. Public investments can change the distribution of these amenities in contrast, the advantages provided by natural amenities (e.g., weather, coastlines, and mountains) are less susceptible to public interventions. For that reason, areas lacking in those assets have focused on sports, the arts, and culture to attract human capital. Knowing if any of those investments have an effect on migration patterns is essential for cities across the North American Midwest and in many other parts of the world. This study focused on both migration (attraction) and non-movement (retention) of different types (age, education) of workers. Empirical tests using IPUMS (Integrated Public Use Micro-data Series) data between 2005 and 2008 show that small tourist amenities help retain workers while some big amenities do have an impact on the immigration of some groups of educated workers. These findings can help cities create the desired environments to foster attraction and retention of educated workers for economic development