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Spatial aspects of labour supply in the UK

Molho, Ian (1986) Spatial aspects of labour supply in the UK. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94536) (KAR id:94536)


This thesis sets out to examine the main sources of variation in labour supply, and the interaction with demand conditions. The spatial dimension is taken to be of intrinsic interest (in addition to its importance in disaggregating the national picture), reflecting not only transportation costs to movement, but also problems of information diffusion . Space is therefore seen as an important dimension to issues of labour market disequilibrium and segmentation, conditioning the opportunity sets of labour market participants, and affecting outcomes. The first section of the thesis examines the determination of male migration patterns, both at the individual and aggregate levels, along lines suggested by search theory. Two main sets of conclusions emerged. Firstly, important differences were found in the behaviour of migrants across search fields, corresponding roughly with housing and employment related motivations for moving. Secondly, some support was found for the notion suggested by search theory that the spatial pattern of flows of opportunities (such as employment growth or house-building rates) were likely to be important in determining migration flows. As such, it was suggested that job creation schemes induce substantial migration adjustments, moderating the impact on local unemployment. The second portion of the thesis investigates spatial variations in married female labour force participation rates. Initially, a time series analysis was performed at the regional level, which attributed much of the regional convergence in participation to convergence in unemployment and wages. A simultaneous labour market model for the London region was then constructed. This analysis suggested that whereas male labour supply adjusted to changes in local demand conditions via induced migration or commuting, women (particularly married women) appeared to be relatively constrained in this respect, placing much of the burden of adjustment on participation rates instead.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Gordon, Ian
Thesis advisor: Stern, Nick
Thesis advisor: Stewart, Mark
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94536
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Labour studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Economics
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2023 09:01 UTC
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2023 09:01 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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