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City Attractiveness and Internal Migration in Korea: Place Utility Considerations

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Item Summary

Title:City Attractiveness and Internal Migration in Korea: Place Utility Considerations
Authors:Kim, Chang-Seok
Contributors:Pitts, Forrest R. (advisor)
Geography and Environment (department)
Keywords:South Korea
cities and towns
internal migration
behavioral geography
show 3 morecity attractiveness
city-ward migration
population redistribution
show less
Date Issued:Dec 1985
Publisher:[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 1985]
Abstract:The aim of this study is to explain internal migration in Korea in relation to city attractiveness--both objective and subjective--via a behavioral geographical approach, specifically the place utility approach initially developed by Julian Wolpert. The concept of place utility, despite its potential usefulness in explaining migration behavior, has not been extensively applied in migration research, using appropriate data, because its transformation into specific terms has been difficult.
Through a survey of the literature on the approach and the consideration of Korea-specific characteristics, the place utility of a city, or the city attractiveness, in this study was broken down into seven attributes: (1) income and wealth; (2) job opportunity; (3) educational opportunity; (4) housing situation; (5) the quality of urban facilities; (6) the presence of friends or relatives; and (7) social mobility opportunity.
The subjective city attractiveness in terms of these attributes as perceived by people was obtained through a questionnaire survey conducted in Ch'ungbuk province between August 1, 1983 and August 31, 1983. Respondents were asked to rank-order the selected 36 cities on each of the seven attributes, and also on the overall city attractiveness considering all of these. By converting respondents' attractiveness ranking matrices to score terms through a quantitative procedure modified from Peter Gould's mental map technique, eight categories of subjective city attractiveness measures for each city were computed.
Objective city attractiveness measures for the place utility attributes were represented by various socio-economic indicators calculated from published data. In addition, this study introduced the concept of "misperception of city attractiveness" to represent the difference between subjective and objective city attractivenesses. This was measured by the value of the difference in Z-scores between the subjective attractiveness of a place attribute of a city versus the corresponding objective attractiveness of the city.
The number of out-migrants from Ch'ungbuk province to each city of Korea was used as the dependent variable for various analyses. Major items of analyses included (1) the relation between city-ward migration flows and objective measures of city attractiveness; (2) subjective city attractiveness scores and the migration flows; (3) a comparison of these two interpretations; and (4) the relation between misperceptions of city attractiveness and migration flows.
Objective city attractiveness measures explained 55.3 to 58.8 percent of the variation in city-ward migration from Ch'ungbuk province to 36 selected cities. By contrast, regression models between subjective attractiveness scores and migration flows to the same cities explained 93.9 to 95.5 percent of the migration variation. Perceived city attractiveness attributes such as job opportunity, income opportunity, educational opportunity, the quality of urban facilities, and the social mobility opportunity were very highly correlated with city-ward migration flows.
Judging from the large gap of R-square levels between the two interpretations, it is apparent that city-ward migration is dependent on individuals' subjective evaluation of city attractiveness rather than on objective attractiveness itself. This is also supported by the high R-squares of the misperception models, ranging between 0.6011 and 0.7154, which are even greater than those of objective city attractiveness models in explaining the flow of city-ward migration.
Findings from the analysis of misperception imply that the presence of misperceptions of city attractiveness in people's minds is believed to be the most important reason why the subjective measurements of city attractiveness are so highly correlated with city-ward migration flows. They also support the basic premise of cognitive behaviorism which assumes that man reacts to his environment as he perceives and interprets it through previous experience and knowledge.
Therefore, policy efforts, through information programs, to close the gap between actual (objective) city attractiveness and its subjective perception may be a prerequisite for the better functioning of population redistribution programs. In this regard, efforts through the mass media and school education to decrease the over-perception people have of the attractions of the Capital Region and other large metropolises, and also to inform people about the merits of life in small cities or rural areas, are worth considering as long-term policy measures. Such efforts may be less expensive and more rewarding than existing policy measures intended to change population distribution.
Description:PhD University of Hawaii at Manoa 1985
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 240–249).
Pages/Duration:xiii, 249 leaves, bound : illustrations, maps ; 29 cm
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: Ph.D. - Geography

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