Friendship ties and geographical mobility: evidence from Great Britain

Michele Belot, John Ermisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A common finding in analyses of geographic mobility is a strong association between past movement and current mobility. We argue that one of the driving forces behind this pattern is the strength of local social ties outside the household. We use data from the British Household Panel Survey on the location of the three closest friends and the frequency of meetings with them. We estimate the processes of friendship formation and residential mobility jointly, allowing for correlation between the two processes. Our results show that a larger number of close friends living nearby substantially reduces movement of 20 miles or more.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)427-442
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of the Royal Statistical Society: Series A
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Friendship formation
  • Geographical mobility
  • Social ties


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