Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Urban and Public Affairs

Committee Chair

Usui, Wayne M.

Author's Keywords

Human capital; College degree production; Educational capital; Educational attainment; Interstate migration


College graduates--Relocation; Educational attainment; Migration, Internal--United States


As state policymakers draw clearer connections between the college-level attainment of their residents and the corresponding economic and social benefits, there is great need for more data and information regarding the production and migration of educational capital. The purpose of this study is to address the following research questions: Which states in the U.S. are producing relatively large numbers of college graduates and which benefit (or not) from the production of other states by importing large numbers of college graduates? What are predictors of interstate migration of college graduates at the person and state levels? What are the most useful policy options for states to increase educational capital? What are the characteristics of some key state level policies already implemented in certain states in the U.S.? This study focuses primarily on the state as the unit of analysis. Coordinated and comprehensive policies aimed at increasing educational attainment are typically implemented at the state-level. It contains a comprehensive review of recent literature on the importance of educational capital, and the production and migration of educational capital. A variety of descriptive analyses are provided that gauge how well state systems of higher education produce college graduates and the degree to which states benefit (or not) from importing college graduates. It also includes the results of a Hierarchical Linear Model (HLM) that tests the effects of person and state level characteristics on interstate migration of college-educated residents. At the person level, greater likelihood of interstate migration among college-educated adults is associated with Asians and Native Americans, males, younger adults, adults without children, higher degree-levels (e.g. doctorate vs. associate), and employment in high-skill occupations. At the state level, higher rates of interstate migration are associated with states that have substantially increased employment in high-skill occupations; creating greater demand for college educated residents. Finally, the results of a focus group with seven state higher education policymakers provides a great deal of information regarding best policies and practices for the production of college graduates, and the ability of states to retain and attract educational capital.