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intervening opportunities

  A concept developed by the American sociologist S.A. Stouffer (1940) to explain the pattern of human migration, but subsequently applied in studies of commodity flow, passenger trips, traffic movements, etc. The concept states that the number of movements from an origin to a destination is proportional to the number of opportunities at that destination and inversely proportional to the number of opportunities between the origin and the destination. He also argued that distance of itself has no effect and that any observed decline in the number of movements with distance (see distance decay) is due to the increase in the number of intervening opportunities with distance. (AMH)

Reference Stouffer, S.A. 1940: Intervening opportunities: a theory relating mobility to distance. American Sociological Review 5: 845-67.



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