This paper arises out of the fact that place utility, a basic factor in behavioral conceptualizations of migration processes, has not been specified in operational terms. This is done here through a model that assigns intraurban migrants to destination areal units within the city, using a normative linear programming framework based on behavioral considerations. Measures of place utilities for each areal unit and of comparative place utilities for each pair-wise permutation of areal units are provided by the shadow prices of the dual of the linear programming model. The primal of the model allocates migrants so as to maximize the household’s gain from migration. This is measured by the increase in its realized aspirations with respect to a residence site, tempered by the search effort involved in acquiring the site. Implementation of the model utilizes both questionnaire and published data from Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the year 1966 to 1967. Conformity between predictions of the model and real-world characteristics is such that it is concluded that the basic form of the model is sound. It is also concluded that the posited relationships between place utility and behavior in searching for and selecting a new residential site are reasonable and can lead to valuable insights into place utility and its functioning in the intra-urban system. Due to some misallocation of migrant flows, however, we further conclude that the model should be revised into a recursive format for future use.

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