I like the paper because it references two past presidents of the Population Association of America--Richard Easterlin and Steven Ruggles--and uses census data from the IPUMS website at the Minnesota Population Center. On the other hand, I am disappointed by the lack of any spatial analysis. We all know that housing costs and incomes are higher along both coasts than they are inland, and there a lot of reasons for this besides just housing regulations. The paper also ignores important population movements over time. You cannot easily equate the cohort of workers in 1940-1960 (pre-Baby Boom and pre-1965 Immigration Act) with the cohort in 1990-2010 (peak earnings Baby Boomers and full impact from changing immigration).
Still, it is good to get these ideas out on the table where they can be examined. I also encourage you to read today's newsletter from Mauldin Economics, in which Patrick Watson discusses the possibility of jobs coming back to the old neighborhoods in new, technologically innovative ways. If the future unfolds in this way, labor migration could become a thing of the past.