Date of Award

8-2003

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Resource Economics and Policy

Advisor

Deirdre M. Mageean

Second Committee Member

Todd M. Gabe

Third Committee Member

Gary L. Hunt

Abstract

In the context of today's tight labor market and increasing demand for highly skilled workers, Maine is considering how to attract and retain college graduates in the state. The educational system and economic opportunities such as the job market, wage levels, and taxes, as well as other factors impacting the migration trends of college graduates are evaluated. Understanding the patterns of educated people's relocation decisions, and the reasons influencing them, are concerns not just of government officials. Students with bachelor and advanced degrees are thought to be an asset to the community and the state since they add to the economic prosperity in the area by attracting higher paying jobs and pay more in taxes. Consequently, a greater number of them is desired. The concern with out-migration of college-educated people is also seen in Maine. During the last 20 years, the state has lost on net about 18,000 of college-bound students (Maine State Planning Office, 2001). In addition, in 1998-2000, Maine proportion of working-age population with at least bachelor degree was 18 percent below the national average, and Maine workers earned 14 percent less on average compared to the rest of the country (Trostel, 2002). This thesis study as a result focuses on the issue 'why' and' where' the University of Maine students resettle after graduation and what can be done to increase the retention of college graduates in Maine. Survey data of migration of University of Maine 2002 graduates are used to assess the migration trends of the University of Maine graduates. A weighted logit model is employed to estimate the effect of explanatory variables, such as personal characteristics, as well as economic, environmental, and quality of life conditions of Maine, on the relocation decisions. The results may prove to be usehl to the University of Maine and the State of Maine in creating policy options that would help to attract and retain more college-educated people.

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