Mobility Extent

Mobility Extent

Mobility, the extent to which workers are able and willing to change' their occupation, industry or hone, and owners of capital and land to change the uses of their resources. Differences in nobility over time have led some economists to distinguish between short-period equilibrium positions to which prices and outputs tend whilst capital remains its existing uses, and long-period equilibrium positions of price and output when firms can expand or contract their plant and enter or leave an industry. The pure theory of international trade has been developed to explain the interrelationships of prices, outputs and incomes in and between economies which exchange their products but whose factors of production do not move between them. The more labour (or capital) is immobile between countries, the wider the differences in costs are likely to be, and the more the opportunities for advantageous exchange of its products. International trade is thus provoked by, and is a compensation for, international immobility of the factors of production- For example, the more migration is prevented or impeded, the more the impetus to international trade. If labour and capital were freely mobile the scope (and the 'need') for international trade would be less.

Mobility is important to economists examining the potentialities for change and growth, explaining local differences in wages or localized .unemploymentand analysing possible remedies. Social mobility, the extent to which the social status (usually measured by occupation) of sons differs from that of their fathers, is an indication of social change.

Adam Smith wrote: 'It appears evidently from experience that man is of all sorts of luggage the most difficult to be transported,' and labour is usually thought generally immobile. Mobility has never been high enough to equalize the percentage employed in all regions of the country or to equalize earnings. For example, at one time in early 2010 the percentage unemployed was 2% in London and the south-east. 59% in Scotland, in the northern region of England and in Northern Ireland. Average weekly earnings of men in London and the south-east at £34,000. were. more than the northern region, £2 5s. 7d. more than in Scotland, and £4 45. more than in Northern Ireland. (But comparisons of this kind do not teII the whole story: in part at least they may merely reflect cost-of living and other differences between areas.)

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