Location-specificity and the Geographic Competition for Remote Workers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


The precipitous growth of fully remote work has given rise to geographic competition among localities for the physical presence of remote workers. A strategy in this context is the provision of financial incentives for remote workers to relocate to specific regions. However, the extent to which localities can attract and effectively retain remote workers Æ individuals often referred to as Ædigital nomadsÆ Æ is unclear. This study examines this question by reframing relocation incentive policies through the lens of the strategic human capital literature. We argue that the geographic competition for remote work has analogous dimensions to the competition to attract and retain workers with valuable general human capital. While firms can create and extract value from general human capital by creating and sharing firm-specific value with workers, localities can compete for remote workers by creating location-specific attributes which uniquely create value for individuals within that region. We examine these ideas in the context of the Tulsa Remote program, which pays remote workers $10,000 to relocate to Tulsa, Oklahoma. By adopting a multi-method abductive approach, we found that Tulsa Remote was able to achieve high retention rates due to its provision of an integrated system of activities that creates location-specific value to its participants. Such location-specificity emerged in the form of superior returns to their human capital and creation of locally bounded social capital. This work thus shows that location-specificity enables localities to both create and capture value from remote workers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2023
Number of pages38
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventDRUID23 Conference - NOVA School of Business and Economics, Lisbon, Portugal
Duration: 10 Jun 202312 Jun 2023
Conference number: 44


ConferenceDRUID23 Conference
LocationNOVA School of Business and Economics
Internet address

Cite this