Location-specificity and the Geographic Competition for Remote Workers

Thomaz Teodorovicz, Prithwiraj Choudhury, Evan Penniman Starr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsResearchpeer-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 – individuals often referred to as “digital nomads” – 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
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Eighty-third Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management
EditorsSonia Taneja
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationBriarcliff Manor, NY
PublisherAcademy of Management
Publication date2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2023: Putting the Worker Front and Center - Boston, United States
Duration: 4 Aug 20238 Aug 2023
Conference number: 83


ConferenceThe Academy of Management Annual Meeting 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address
SeriesAcademy of Management Annual Meeting Proceedings

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